Cohen Gallery, Brown University
November 4-December 19, 2021
Curator Kate Kraczon:
Jules Gimbrone’s immersive installations dissolve visual and aural binaries. Objects both sculptural and sonic reverberate across the space of the gallery, blending and bending light and sound into washes of color, tone, and tempo. Meticulously calibrated by the artist, these structures are intentionally scored to produce physical sensations that migrate—unfixed—across the senses.
Gimbrone has written extensively on what they term trans-sensing:
“methods that trans people—specifically those who identify as transgender, but also people whose subjectivity is unmoored from the dominant culture—intuitively cultivate to navigate the world. An emphasis on sensory presence and integration, such as trans, is a reprioritization of the nuanced body, the flexible body, the imagined body, and the listening body, one that is able to perceive information beyond a quick binary-based flattening.” – Gimbrone, Walker Reader, 2019
By resisting an either/or model of artistic expression, Gimbrone’s practice locates itself within a hybrid space that reflects their refusal of either/or gender. Their investigation of tempo as a kind of binary—the pulsing metronomic beat within Trinities—emerged within the pandemic as time transformed, stretched and stunted, over the many weeks and months spent indoors and isolated. Gimbrone expands tempo beyond its role as a form of measurement in music to embrace temporalities outside the scope of human perception, to geological and even religious—sublime—forms of time.
This both/and strategy can be found throughout the exhibition. The mechanics of sound—vibration, soundwave, receptor—are represented in a wall-mounted triptych hologram; hand snapping, rippling waves, and a microphone are transmuted into a kind of “holy trinity,” playfully recalled from the artist’s Catholic childhood. Here Gimbrone recuperates and queers this element of an otherwise oppressive dogma. The father, son, and holy spirit as the same but different, a metaphor of sound and bodies freed of binary.
Traps and Transmutations, 3
The Upstairs: Transmutations
Sascha Braunig, Jules Gimbrone, Piero Golia, Brook Hsu, Anicka Yi
1 May – 12 June 2021
Opening Saturday, 1 May from 11am-6pm
Jules Gimbrone’s Traps and Transmutations 3, 2021, is a resonating stage composed through a cosmology of vibrating actants and actors. The traps come in the appearance of static forms, recording mechanisms and quantifiable technologies. The transmutations are catalyzed by all of the forces pushing away from, cutting, degrading and liberating these forms. Sound, a form of energy transfer, literally pushes through the forms: knives, cast soap, microphones cast in resin, and desiccated cabbage. These forms are cast into vibratory ecstasy through a composition of audio including the artist’s breath blowing up a balloon, the recording of the motor of a fan, and a series of feedback exercises with the stage. The most explicit symbol of the body, a 5 ft resonating glass vessel is filled with salt water and other organic detritus is animated by the artist’s voice chanting the phrase “concave, convex” as a sort of transubstantiatory ritual.
At what point is a vibrating sack of molecules legible as an object? What makes it so and what are the forces that act upon it to assist or degrade this legibility? Is the convex curve of a hip enough to signify a gender? At what point does that curve become a symbol? Can we chart the precise moment of categorization? What are the possibilities if we can’t?
Trans As Indicator Species, 2021
I Contain Multitudes
January 15 – February 20, 2021
Trans As Indicator Species, 2021
Copper Sheet, Tactile Transducers, Amp, Sound of Artist’s Heartbeat, Metal Truss, Infrared Lights, Video Projector, Video of Microscopic Materials Ingested by Artist, Wooden Box, Ice-Encased T-Shirts filled with sweat by the Artist, Devynn Emory, Georgia Peaches, Pete Oyler, Kieran Myles Andrés Tverbakk, and Toni Carlson.
An indicator species is an organism, through its particular set of sensitivities, measures disturbances in ecosystems. Studying the proliferation, reduction, mutations, or adaptations of these organisms helps to assess the general “health” of the system and the symbiotic relationships thus within. Measuring these individuals can indicate a change in the balance normally maintained within an ecosystem, and often points to larger shifts in surrounding forces.
There is no social system more rigid, perhaps, than that of being born into a binary-based gender system. When trans people reject the external imperative of birth sex, and undergo biological, spiritual, and social transformations, our bodies are the site for an interdependent ecological upheaval. We are physically transforming our internal biologies while simultaneously pointing to, and changing the social, political, and often familial structures through which these bodies were shaped. Trans people, as well as people inhabiting other bodies which are stamped by social, political, and economic systems, are often the first to be harmed by the chemistry of the normative force fields, and also those whose very existence signals another potential stew.
The biome of the internal becomes the biome of the external. And the skin, or membrane through which this transformation occurs, is the most dynamic place for energy transfer, sound, heat, politics, debate, and catharsis. Through the skin we communicate our internal biome as sweat, as breath, as our inner molecules become atmosphere. The smallest most intimate parts of ourselves–hormones, pheromones, bacterias, chemicals–diffuse through our skin and commingle with the outside air. Like a virus, we spread ourselves, our beliefs, our chemistry evaporating into the weather of our social systems.
In this piece, Trans as Indicator Species, I am creating an evaporation resonating system with a large sheet of copper skin. Included in this system is a projection of video of microscopic images of hormones, vitamins and foods ingested, overlaid with the image of my belly, sweaty t-shirt of friends-who-identify-with-the-word trans encased in ice melting on the metal sheet, infrared lights causing the evaporation of the sweat inside the gallery, and stereo transducers resonating the copper sheet with audio of spoken text and sonic evaporation.
From January 18th-29th, Jules Gimbrone will be in residence at Helena Anrather Gallery researching illusion as conceptual and physical material. Gimbrone will interview people in non-art fields on how the concept of illusion functions in their work. They have a specific interest in talking with people in fields in which quantitative analysis is essential, but are open to all fields. This research will lead to a new body of work.
If you are interested in having a brief, relaxed, and exploratory conversation with Gimbrone, please sign up here.
More from Gimbrone:
I am interested in illusion as a queer strategy for evoking ecstatic confusion. There is an overt queerness to illusion–an act of deception–which negates a simple read of the real. We ask questions, rather than state facts, and resonate as unstable subjects in a system that is held together by a collective solidifying of belief.
In my work I emphasize the presence of diverse sensory textures that play with mis-understanding through sonic and visual illusions. I set up these disruptions between the senses in order to re-wire our habitual response to sensory input, a state of being that I correlate to transgender perception. I work to evoke a disorientation which may act as a re-set to enable the perception of contingent systems rather than absolute truths.