Alex Dolores Salerno
Informed by queer-crip experience, community, and culture, I work to critique standards of productivity, notions of normative embodiment, and the commodification of rest. My interdisciplinary practice depicts the materiality of interdependence through used, found or accumulated objects, slow pacing, and through collaboration. Drawing from both sites of and barriers to care, rest, and togetherness, I argue that to celebrate diverse bodyminds requires an anti-capitalist reconfiguration of time and value. Bedding is one of my primary materials which allows me to explore the bed as a site of collectivity and protest, as well as redefine what is typically considered to count as “work”. Through juxtapositions of domestic, industrial and natural materials, such as diamond-plate flooring, coffee beans, and sweat stained memory foam, I address the incompatibility of our needs with societal values of self-reliance, “hard work” and individualism. These tensions ask us to embrace slowness as well as recognize and honor our needs which are too often suppressed, consciously or unconsciously, to conform to white supremacist ideals of urgency, perfectionism, professionalism, and endless productivity. While the work speaks to the expansiveness of the self, specifics regarding the body and identity often remain opaque. Negating the demand placed on marginalized groups to provide an explanation, proof or diagnosis, to reveal or obscure becomes a tactic in my practice as I navigate the politics of visibility, 24/7 society, and my own access needs as a chronically ill autistic trans person.
Featured Image: Alex Dolores Salerno, ACCRESCENCE, 2023. Coffee Beans, Portable Massage Chair, Thread and Paint, 43.5” x 63” x 45.” Courtesy of the artist.