Cruising the Manifold, Disoriented is a spoken-word live act manifesting as a meditation on a carpet: a poetry recital set to a backdrop composed of GAN depictions of queer landscapes with the occasional affective clone (3D figure).
A generative adversarial network (GAN) trained on an image database of common objects in context (COCO) was made to generate depictions of physical spaces from a simplified textual description. Instead of pointing to the algorithm’s bias as the reason for its inability to offer a plausible representation in the form of a persuasive image, the work understands this inability as a queer failure, a failure that allows for these spaces to remain fluid, unfixed by the petrifying forces of the pinkmarket
Bodies marked by sexual, gender, race and class difference are compelled to search for spaces of freedom and intimacy away from the gaze of the “rest of the population.” Historically, these spaces often took the form of gatherings in parks, on beaches and at public bathhouses. But ever since the post-Stonewall liberalization in which we got recognized as an assembly of LGBT target groups on the pinkmarket, leading to the emergence and proliferation of dating apps, these public spaces have progressively deterritorialized into the private sphere, further precarizing queer encounters.
Queer encounters are not exclusively sexual. An encounter queers when one comes in contact with (an)other, in a moment of touch past the hetero/homonormative. In this spoken-word live act, accounts of searching for such encounters on personal excursions to a park, a beach and a darkroom are molded into poetry – a meditation on sensing, (re)orienting and navigating in these unstable landscapes, which take form in paintinglike, blurry and almost indistinguishable depictions produced by a text-to-image algorithm.
This project was developed during a residency as part of a Summer Sessions residency at V2_.