Margaret (b.1977 – Lives and works in London)

Margaret is interested in the necessity of performance in our lives, and how these performances are validated or vetted. How do humans experience their own sense of humanity when they are essentially the puppets of other organisms, socio-political competition and the value-system of languages? Is there any genuine joy to be had in being a puppet? If so, who deserves to have it?

The overarching motivation for my work is how language develops, distributes and helps us understand power. I have always been fascinated by the complexity of our relationship with the technology of language. Recently this has extended into exploring my definition as a self-identified trans* artist. Thinking about my political position as other, I have looked at how this position can both aid and frustrate an ability to be understood, and what we can learn from the process of creating our many selves.

By combining my education in aesthetics and critical writing with a career as a technologist specialising in user behaviours, I want my work to open up debate about our relationship to our current economy, one that capitalises on our utterances. I try to approach this from an oblique angle, choosing not to frame the arguments through digital media, but looking instead at more direct human exchanges of language, like clothing, games, music, sexuality and conversation.

In my studio, I have looked at some of the aspects that build a performance of identity, something that has a currency related to sex and political gender. Manipulated photographs, paintings and sculptures look a bit like the prototype phases of a potential production run. I often feel like I’ve always been on the cusp of a huge industrial roll-out, destroying the prototype before it becomes a commodity.

Invisible Salon

I work alongside the performer and musician Robyn Herfellow, to produce a pop-up show titled Invisible Salon. As a continuing experiment, Invisible Salon is an exercise in queer failure, often unrehearsed, undocumented, awkward and overtly personal. It helps us explore performance ideas, and experience generating and presenting ideas in an intimate live setting. The Salon has remained a deliberately self-conscious show and has been used to give a platform to other queer artists.

En Film [2015] digital still