Curatorial: Loner Culture

Featured Image: From Thirza Cuthand’s Colonization: The Second Coming.


September 12 – October 27, 2018
InterAccess, 950 Dupont Street, Toronto
Curated by Lindsay Nixon

“Maybe they’re in their bedrooms figuring out how to work a dental dam.”

— Thirza Cuthand, Lessons in Baby Dyke Theory

Thirza Cuthand’s early videos were before their time, driven by her self-branded persona, unabashed attention-seeking performative dialogues, and overexposure before post-reality states were in effect. Cuthand made camcorder videos about the isolation of living in Saskatoon as an NDN lesbian in the late 1990s. The accessibility and affordability of video allowed her to create in her bedroom, cut-off but reaching out for queer connection.

In the DIY style of the time, feminist activist Kathleen Hanna wrote, performed, and produced her 1997 record Julie Ruin on a Drumatix she bought at a pawn shop for $40, in order to “escape what had happened to her.” Hanna describes cutting and pasting samples for Julie Ruin in the 2013 documentary The Punk Singer, by herself, in her room, facilitating relationships with the materials she used unmediated by anyone else. “It sounds like you can hear a human being’s fingers all over it. It sounds like bedroom culture. It sounds like something a girl made in her bedroom.”

Cuthand’s early videos suggest a similar relationship to materials—videos shot on a camcorder and carefully labored over by a “baby dyke” in her bedroom, who didn’t just then throw her work away, but chose to share it with the world. This exhibition asks, how can we connect all the bedrooms wherein NDN weirdos are creating work that is never shared? In curating this exhibition it became important to identify a gender-neutral term for girlhood, to make space for all the ways NDN loner culture is embodied by girls and gender weirdos alike. As Kite said to me in conceptualizing a gender-neutral term for girlhood, that’s “loner culture.” In “Loner Culture,” Cuthand, Fallon Simard, and Kite fill a shared bedroom with big feels and their loner creations.

More information can be found here.