Hygiene is the Religion of FascismAcrylic, glitter, faux fur and glass tiles on MDF // 2019
Hygiene is the Religion of Fascism discuss the exclusion of the ‘other’ from the centre. This work aims to over perform the ‘other’ in order to illuminate it, marrying the boundaries between interior design, art, craft, the other, and the centre. This work sits within a context in which it is not deemed palatable.
“Body fluids are base material. Disneyland is so clean: hygiene is the religion of fascism. The body sack, the sack you don’t enter, it’s taboo to enter the sack. Fear of sex and loss of control; visceral goo, waddle, waddle ” - Paul McCarthy
Painting and tiling can both be seen as conventional elements of an architectural interior, as practices of adornment and decoration. The TILE in this body of research is of great importance. It becomes the primary element through which I begin to explore conventions of normality, which when used in an unconventional way, decentres the boundaries between high/low, centre/ other.
Similarly to Ettore Sottsass, who chose “textures like the grit and the mosaic of public conveniences in the underground stations of big cities, proposing some sort of iconography on non-culture”(1), I use materials which hold clear associations with certain spaces and schools of thought.
Hygiene is the Religion of Fascism is presented as a wall, considering the Wall as concept, Wall as restriction, Wall as surface, Wall as protection and comfort, Wall as a boundary, Wall as compartmentalisation, The wall as a social relation in the production of desire [Deleuze]. Drawing from Jene Genet’s 1950s short film Un Chant D’amour, I propose the wall as a site encouraging sensual stimulation.
Little attention has been given to the visual aspects of queering in design, which in part, reflects its conservatism(2). White is given privilege over colour, and non porous over porous; evident both in society and interior design. In exploring materiality, representation and subjectivity though the flirtatious merging of excessive colour, painting, tiling and the haptic qualities of fur and glitter; I probe a critique of conventional practices.
The common unacceptability of openly talking about sex can be linked back to Foucault’s explanation that “the conjugal family took custody of it [sex], and absorbed it into the serious function of reproduction’ (3). Although this unacceptability has loosened over time, it still continues to stand as a prevalent issue in contemporary society. For Judith Butler, ‘The materiality of bodies is an effect of normative constructs, which in turn consolidate the norm. Space too is a discursive as well as material entity entangled in the reproduction of the heteropatriarchial imperative’ (4). Therefor, I seek to bring the bodily back into the discourse of the space and interiors of which it is entangled.
1. Sparke, Penny. Ettore Sottsass Jnr. London: Design Council, 1982.
2. Reed, Christopher. “Imminent Domain: Queer Space in the Built Environment.” Art Journal 55, no. 4 (1996): 64.
3. Johnston, Lynda, and Robyn Longhurst. Space, Place, and Sex: Geographies of Sexualities. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. 4. Baydar, Gülsüm. “Sexualised Productions of Space.” Gender, Place & Culture 19, no. 6 (2012): 699-706.