Language is Leaving Me is a new multimedia installation by artist Summer Jade Leavitt that confronts histories and untold truths lost due to institutional and patriarchal silencing and erasure.
Inspired by queer bar culture, the project transforms Locust Projects’ Screening Room into a fantastical, dream-like, night-club-esque environment that utilizes karaoke videos and found footage, repurposing ready-made texts and transforming their language into a powerful narrative about memory, bodies, invisibility, trauma, love, and community. A dentist chair, associated with being unable to speak, an invasion of space, and something put in or removed from the mouth, instead acts as a stage and a place to locate one’s voice and participate in a reclamation of voice and autonomy. Surrounded by karaoke videos and lyrics, and lit with a spotlight, the chair becomes a symbol of welcoming and invites the viewer to sing along, creating a participatory experience for non-judgmental, carefree performance and allowing participants to be audience members and creators. Aiming to juxtapose power dynamics between spaces of freedom and those where there the body is voiceless, the work finds language as a tool and invites viewers to share a sense of power, autonomy, and joy.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Summer Jade Leavitt is an artist and writer working to figure out what a queer future looks like. Through text, photo, artifacts, and video, she approaches everyday life as a site for performance, documenting gestures large and small to archive and historicize them. Looking at pop culture, history, music videos, film, and theory, she aims to confuse lineages and authenticity. Her performative existence is a sci-fi documentary: all real, all fake. She seeks to locate origins of trauma and excavate them from the body, creating space for all that has been lost, and all that is yet to come.
Summer Jade Leavitt's publications include Mad Girl's Crush Tweet, published by Headmistress Press; "Carol" published by Poets.org; and "Carol", "Carol Too", "Remains", and "This is Not Fiction", published by The Oakland Review. Leavitt's work has been exhibited at many galleries and museums nationwide, with recent exhibitions including: Possible Bodies, Phosphor Project Space, Pittsburgh, PA (2019); Nearest Neighbors, Powder Room, Pittsburgh, PA (2019); Headmistress Press AWP reading at Like Nobody's Business, Portland, OR (2019); The Self, Realized: Queering the Art of Self-Portraiture, Brew House Association, Pittsburgh, PA (2019); Ten Futures, 937 Gallery, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA (2019); Erotica Night, Bunker Projects, Pittsburgh, PA (2019); Matter & Memory Group Show, The Factory at Bard, Berlin, DE (2018); Dot Gov, Miller Institute of Contemporary Art, Pittsburgh, PA (2018); ephemera, Future Tenant, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh, PA (2018); Erotica Night, Bunker Projects, Pittsburgh, PA (2018); We Have a Future, Perhaps, The Frame at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA (2017); "Untitled (Making Myself into a Monument)", Pittsburgh Performance Art Festival, Pittsburgh, PA (2017); The Kitchen Sink, 3577 Studios, Pittsburgh, PA (2017); Power & The Soul, The Frame at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh PA (2017); Be Somebody With A Body, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2016); Nightmare, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA (2016); From The Dream To The Cosmos, The Frame at Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA (2016); Stairwell Show, School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (2014); Scholastic Gold Key Winners, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL (2013); Senior Showcase, Artseen, Miami, FL (2013); Works of Eight, New World Gallery, Miami, FL (2011); Fluxus, Culture Center, Chicago, IL (2011); Showcase, Grossman Gallery, Boston, MA (2011).
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