When a story begins with tiny piglets competing in a foot race for oreos, you know you are in for a treat! Interdisciplinary artist, activist, and edjucator Liss LaFleur shares the ins and outs of her research-based art practice and how her own journey to parenthood has inspired the Queer Birth Project. We start with tales of young Liss embracing the camp aesthetic of hot pink fringed cowboy boots within the masculine setting of the Texas rodeo and go on to discuss how her experience having a son similarly embraced a fluidity of gender expression within her relationship.
Liss is an Associate Professor of New Media Art at the University of North Texas, and recently celebrated the arrival of her new son with her wife, Brittany. In our talk, Liss explains the three questions she pursues in her practice, which are centered around the future of feminism, the politics of visibility, and the potential of archives. Liss’s practice manifests across video, sounds, glass, sculpture, and performance and utilizes technology as a poetic tool for exploring her research questions.
We talk about her desire for openness and joy in her practice as she seeks to collaborate with others and explore her ideas with curiosity. She explains that she pursues possibility for future feminisms at the space between the discourses of bell hooks and José Esteban Muñoz, and how this mindset drives her to foreground the lives of the most vulnerable.
I was so moved to hear Liss’s journey to welcoming her new son, and was excited to hear that Liss’s ongoing collaboration with a sociologist, The Queer Birth Project, will highlight even more stories about birth from the LGBTQ+ community. Based on Judy Chicago’s Birth Project (1981-1985), The Queer Birth Project will adapt Chicago’s survey questions to be more inclusive and transform the results into a visual art piece, a publication, and a new archive – all with the goal of forming community and pulling our attention to queer birth experiences.
Biggest Art Crush: Clarity Haynes
Dream Trip: Berlin
Film or book: Glitch Feminism by Legacy Russel
Favorite meal: Tex-mex
Shout-out: partner Brittany Balkcom and gallerist Ree Willaford Galleri Urbane