Friday, December 9, 2022

m burgess

When m was seven, they had a pet snake named Herman. Kept him in a bubble bath container shaped like a train, and when they opened the lid, they could see him peering back. Everyone else in their family was afraid of snakes. Them favorite was the gentle black king snake. Herman was tiny and green. A rubbery toy they had to hide from their mother, who had a way of making things disappear. Like their sixth finger, which they wore between thumb and index, from which they shot little projectiles that contained messages. Like the satanic bible, which they read to investigate the opposition, since their father was a born again man of the cloth. Being a gender fluid person was likely going too far, but eventually, it wasn’t something they could put a lid on. Around the same time as Herman, they started rink roller skating, dressing in wide cords with an alligator belt, a white cotton shirt, and beneath it, a striped cravat they called a dickey. One day, m peered at Herman peering back at them and felt a sudden fear, realizing that soon, they would also be hiding. In high school, they excelled in Science and Art. In college, Psychology and Philosophy. Them was enamored of semiotics, game theory and topography while getting their mfa at Yale. No wonder that their work evolved into computer spaces, where they wove Queer meaning into photographs and made installations that were given Guggenheim, NYFA and Jerome Foundation awards. Currently, m is offering tours of their studio, working on an installation performance and editing seven years of work into a “book.” As a Professor in Exile at The New School, m teaches outside of University settings, offering group studio courses and individual mentoring.

m is currently reading these books mentioned in the imterview: The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment Volume One, by Je Tsongkhapa (Translated by Lam Rim Chen Mo); Paul Outerbridge: New Color Photos. Nazraeli Press, 2022, One Thing Well: 22 Years of Installation Art by Kim Davenport.

CHAPTEr onE, THis CHAPTEr onE, THE oTHEr cHAPTEr onE, ink on paper with grommets, ©mBurgess, 2021
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2 COMMENTS

  1. […] m burgess spoke to us in mid-March from their studio at the Elizabeth Foundation. They are presently at work on a piece that began about seven years ago that is just reaching a point where it can be edited into a whole. They have been spending as much time in studio as possible, and while there they attempt to achieve presence. Some days this is tremendously difficult. m watches pigeons swoop from the roof of the studio building. They have built something of a relationship with the birds, offering them chickpeas at the window. This act of noticing the pigeons and communicating with them in a way has been a profound act of presence. To hear more about m’s work and pursuit of presence, listen to the complete interview. […]

  2. […] m burgess spoke to us in mid-March from their studio at the Elizabeth Foundation. They are presently at work on a piece that began about seven years ago that is just reaching a point where it can be edited into a whole. They have been spending as much time in studio as possible, and while there they attempt to achieve presence. Some days this is tremendously difficult. m watches pigeons swoop from the roof of the studio building. They have built something of a relationship with the birds, offering them chickpeas at the window. This act of noticing the pigeons and communicating with them in a way has been a profound act of presence. To hear more about m’s work and pursuit of presence, listen to the complete interview. […]

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