Standing Up | RYAN LEITNER

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In Partnership with Cambridge College, 2021

Image Gallery

Artist Statement and Video Commentary

A Riot Book 

A project that began as a performance piece, Strange Inheritance, "A Riot Book" is a set of uniquely printed art books that pull from the research, documents, photographs, and performances that I conducted around the visualization of queer monuments in public spaces. Traveling the US and Europe, I cleaned and helped restore Queer Monuments that were under disrepair or just needed maintenance work. Along the way, I interviewed historians, activists, and scholars that work in the same vein of queer visibility and history making.

Using those materials I had collected, I created this art book installation that invites deeper inquiry into the way queer history is archived and seen. Much of our LGBTQ+ histories have either been discarded or sequestered to private and special collections, mainly due to their rarity and ephemeral qualities (pins, t-shirt, posters, etc.). For this reason, I found it important to explore ways to visualize a different form for seeing and experiencing this project. "A Riot Book" consists of a collage of imagery and documents that were animated into a short film. That film was was then exported into frames and each frame became a page in a book. As the images go in and out of the collage, they cascade down the sides of the books, creating a three dimensional viewing experience of the book and its archived materials. The frames/pages were printed all at once, with each book being connected to the next by way of the cascading images. In total, there were over 26,600 frames printed for this project. With hand collated colored paper and unique pages, each book is unique in this series and yet they are all connected to each other.

Click here for the text of "Chosen Family," a poem included in "A Riot Book."

This project was created during my artist residency at Paper Machine in 2020.

Strange Inheritance

"Strange Inheritance" is a performance of sorts, honoring the queer histories and people in public spaces. Inspired by the acts in labor by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, I traveled the country and the UK on a quest to find local LGBTQ+ public spaces and monuments to clean and wash. Upon closer inspection of some of these monuments and their founding organizations, I found monuments that were in actual need of restoration. With the aid of different local governments, I have been able to restore some of these historic sites.

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