Laila Majid ja Louis Blue Newby

south florida sky


south florida sky imagines the comic hero Swamp Thing, present in its physical form; rendered fluid, enmeshed within the biologically diverse environment of the swamp.

The work reanimates a comic frame, paying homage to the hand-drawn context and providing a queered unravelling of the character. This process of disidentification portrays both the swamp and the body as a site of radical interconnectivity.

Through new systems of collaboration and Majid-Newby’s material input, the work generates a network, a swamp of queered collectivity beyond the two artists. Drawing from natural systems of interconnectedness – mycelium networks, siphonophores and the primordial ooze – the project rejects individualised modes of production and favours a polyphonic approach.

Partially generated by GAN, a machine learning framework that was fed hundreds of images of Swamp Thing, wetlands, fungus and slime moulds, semi-recognisable forms congeal and re-submerge in a digital mire, morphing into new configurations. Originally captured using 16mm film and then produced digitally, the work embodies José Esteban Muñoz’s call for utopian performativity: ‘To see queerness as horizon is to perceive it as a modality of ecstatic time in which the temporal stranglehold that I describe as straight time is interrupted or stepped out of. Ecstatic time is signaled at the moment one feels ecstasy, announced perhaps in a scream or grunt of pleasure, and more importantly during moments of contemplation when one looks back at a scene from one’s past, present or future.