Play Thing

Alex Gibson + Desi Rekrut (PM)
Play Thing
Presented by Number 3 Gallery, Vancouver, BC.

Play Thing
Text by Julie Mills + Julia Lamare

This edition of SPAM features a collaboration between visual artist Alex Gibson and drag/ performance artist PM. The resultant project is a catalog of images featuring painted body parts, found objects and costumes, all of which explore body, gender, drag, and camp through the transformative potential of newly generated forms.

Considering non-binary forms as they relate both to humans* and non-humans, the artists merge plant and human fragments, drawing connections to gender fluidity as it exists in nature. An armpit sprouting ferns, a cone bra weighed down by pebbles—despite their fractured shapes, Play Thing’s body of images incites a sense of weight, pull and movement. Viewers are encouraged to click, rotate and zoom in on images to explore and play with the anthropomorphic forms.

The flattened colors and exaggerated positions in these digital renderings highlight an absurdity integral to camp, while making reference to historical drag performances, interviews and imagery. Drag is always a performance on display, but this project gives us the opportunity to get up close and personal with a moment—rendered a sculpture—and consider the possibilities it implicates, the fluidity it represents and to imagine queer possibilities.

Leaf Hand, 2022, .glb file
Painted Eye, 2022, .glb file
Red Gloves with Flower, 2022, .glb file
Flowered Big Wig, 2022, .glb file
Cone Bra Weighted with Stones, 2022, .glb file
Potted Parts, 2022, .glb file
Armpit Fern, 2022, .glb file
Eyelashes and Painted Lips, 2022, .glb file
Crochet Dress and Butterflies, 2022, .glb file

* Perhaps Ironically, yet not unlike human binaries which are understood generally based on their performative nature, the .glb files used to present these renderings work within their own kind of binary language. Binary computer files encode data in a way that can only be decoded by computers. Through Play Thing we are able to witness the subversion of such human manufactured binaries.