Video Portrait, May 2019
“Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede.”
-Ophelia, ‘Hamlet’, W. Shakespeare
Historically, the queer’s self-actualisation is dogged by pathology at the hands of heteronormativity, its associations rooted in abjection, these artefacts embodying themselves sexually via internalised homophobia in self-fulfilling prophecies. Self-destruction characterises many a queer’s road to their self-reconciliation, if indeed that end be ultimately met at all.
Inspired by the analyses of queer theorists Leo Bersani, David M. Halperin, and Tim Dean of the death drive’s exhibition in queer sexual praxes, the artist here reinterprets the Shakespearean role of Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover who ultimately took her own life, through a contemporary lens of gender and sexuality in video portraiture.