115 Trigger: Patrick Staff and Candice Lin
My name is Patrick Staff. I’m an artist based in London and LA but the work that I’m talking about is Hormonal fog study #3 which is a collaboration between myself and Candice Lin whose solo work is also included in Trigger. So Candice and I have been collaborating since 2010. We mostly work together in text and then in sculptures and the sculptures that we make together most often have taken the form of smoke machines. It’s very research led, there’s a lot of text, a lot of historical writing and newly produced text that we coauthor together but the whole project is kind of informed by this practice of rereading botanical texts through a queer lens.
So these sculptures that Candice and I make are normally smoke machines that we’ve taken apart and hacked in some way. We kind of hack them and into the fog juice we introduce herbal tinctures. So these common botanical ingredients which are like liquorish, certain types of mushrooms, black coharsh (sp?). Most of these botanical ingredients contain anti-antigens. Anti-antigens are a class of drug known for suppressing testosterone production in the human body. So the installation of these fog machines in the galleries creates this kind of slow forming cloud that drifts through the space and we think of it as enacting a sort of potential intrusion of a disruptive botanical knowledge. The one that potentially kind of cross pollinates and infects bodies with the ecosystem of the gallery and the institution.
There is a certain dualism in the piece that this smoke that potentially slows down your body’s making of testosterone has in some ways a positive potential. I think for those of us who want to suppress the testosterone in our body there’s this pleasure in it, or almost a joyousness in this environment or self-actualization. But obviously at the same time in the work there’s this suggestion of fear, and fear of pollution and fear of paranoia and a kind of, not a fear of paranoia but a paranoia of the environment around us. In some ways we are trying to question that. Were trying to question the sense that we think of our bodies as these pure, discreet things in the world that are constantly at threat from the environment around us. When in fact we are incredibly porous beings. And really you know we are these coagulations of many different types of matter that are bacteria and pollutive and we pollute the environment around us as much as we absorb pollution. So there’s this sense of trying to agitate what we think of as the boundaries of our bodies.