Aidan Huntington is an interdisciplinary artist working across sculpture, performance, video, and essay. They study Cultural Anthropology and Studio Art in the Combined Degree program at Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts.  Through investigating the affects and desires in trans memoir, multispecies relationships, and their own settler-colonial family history, they ask “what do queer and trans desires look like when the objects of those desires don’t exist in a queer world?”

My thesis work, titled the thing that happens between us is not then: a history, is comprised of video, sculpture, essay, and performance. This installation is part of my fascination with how the world makes us feel. I don’t mean this just in terms of specific emotions at specific times, but rather the way that the structures around us, and our position within them, create the ways in which we can be moved and affected by the world. Family histories, from census records, artifacts, oral history, and photo albums, form a specific kind of relationship to and understanding of the past, and how it was and is possible to form intimacy. This intimacy can range from legible and illegible sexual desires, to the color and feel of a specific throw pillow, to knowledge of foraged plants on family plots. Family history creates an orientation to the world. How though, as a queer child, do I find claims to this history, and how do I make sense of the continuous pull that family and home have on me as someone whose queer orientation to the world rubs up against its structure?
     One place that I’ve found parallels to a connection to family history is through trans studies, and an understanding of the messy pulls that normative gender has on my own transition. Trans memoir, like family history, creates a very specific relationship to the past. Transitioning produces an orientation to the world felt deeply in one’s body. Re-understanding transition as not necessarily a radical rejection of gender and its categories, but rather an othered way of relating to those categories, offers something different from the anti-normative politics of queer theory. The things we attach ourselves to aren’t always good for us, or even good at all in the political sense, but they create the way we feel the world nonetheless.
     My sculptural objects engage with, among other things, a queer relationship to space, object, and body. They resemble domestic objects, as if from a house museum or attic hideaway, but through ambiguity of shape and design, these sculptures offer an open-ended, or perhaps queer, orientation to a domestic world where things are not “this” or “that” but are in constant negotiation instead. This constant negotiation that happens between bodies, that of the sculpture and that of the viewer, is always happening in the present. We don’t, however, only negotiate physicality in real-time; we do the same with temporality. Crucial to this work is an examination of our relationship to time. Trans temporality and family temporality offer sites to examine relationships to past, present, and future; together, alongside feminist art history, multispecies studies, and a few other tangents, this body of work offers a theory of the affective present as one of intense personal stakes.
     This is an experiment in understanding a politics rested in queer, trans, feminist, colonial, animal, etc. relationships to time and place: our creation of histories, the potentials of our futures, and the messy, sometimes bad, uncontrollable forces that orient us in the present. Childhood memories, domestic objects, dead animals, yonic ceramics, anteater evolution, and family land (among other things) come together in my work through sculpture, video, and essay, in the hopes of articulating new ways of relating to the world.

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