Unknown Deviances (What a Dish!)
#1 of 9, 32" x 40", 1989, Kaucyila Brooke

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Artist Statement
Kaucyila Brooke

Lesbian visibility has always been an important part of my work. I began photographing to document the amazing dykes that I lived with and played with as a young 22 year old dykling living in a highly self consciously politicized lesbian community in the middle seventies. Much of my writing (essays, fiction) and photographic work has addressed the construction of lesbian identity and community. But it has always been important to me that lesbianism exist as a contextual issue in my work. It has not been the subject of my work but the frame for other narrative and critical issues about the linguistic construction of meaning.

"Unknown Deviancies (What A Dish!)"

I have been using the photo novella or photo cartoon device in my work for the last ten years as a means for creating complex layered narratives that remain accessible while they participate in theoretical discourse surrounding women and representation. Three of my works employ established narrative genres to refer to the discourse surrounding the absence of articulated women's desire in classic narratives. Each one is comprised of a series of 30" x 42" framed panels that contain photomontage and text in a comic book page type of layout. The work is physically cut and applied together. Much of my work deals with the enculturation of nature and the naturalization of culture. The use of known genres allows the work to consider some of the conflicts that arise from bridging the gap between subcultural politics and mainstream assimilation, while ironically questioning classic narrative's heroic individualistic resolution.

The articulation of women's desire is the concern which links the three works in the trilogy. In Unknown Deviancies (What a Dish!), 1989, the character, Badgirl, finds herself on the streets of Corporate America uncertain about her future or identity but destined to stage and fight (as all superheros must do) the battle for women's desire. Weaving together her lesbian subcultural history with a life of power lunches and appointment books, Badgirl continues to work within the system without loosing her sense of chaos. In deviating from heterosexual normalcy through a wandering lesbian narrative, she has become the preparator and the consumer. She desires the dish and is desired as the dish.

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All text Kaucylia Brooke.