Interview with Special Tears

September 2016

A series of interviews with SPACE Art + Technology artists in residence

As Special Tears, we are examining the trope of crying in its various iterations: as an expression of sadness and grief; as a manipulative affective tool; as a (mis-) gendered response; as a signifier of authenticity etc. Tears – as software – are wetness capable of corrupting hardware but also a moment of affective singularity that is unable to be assimilated into algorithmic processes. We look to utilise current technologies available to us – be that modifying, instrumentalizing or even destroying – to understand this intuition. 

The main motivation behind the project is a desire for the rethinking of femme identities beyond biological essentialism, and an unraveling of the narrative of the weak, hysterical femme body who cries because she is at the bottom, imagining instead the possibility of crying as a way of getting to the bottom of things.

In the unraveling of these identities, sometimes queer and femme voices need to be brought together, brought into play so we can play with and play through their sounds. Quotation as play as answer; allowing us to get closer to the bottom of what the answers might be through a realisation that we will not arrive alone but together.


What were you doing in the year leading up to the residency?
“Growing older” - from Electra as quoted in Babel-17, Samuel Delany

What are you working on at the moment?
Offering “the safe space of nonconformity. I can go on a stage and take my bra off and say “My bra hurts I just want my breasts out” And no one thinks it’s vulgar or like tantalising, they just know it’s me” - Princess Nokia

How have you found the residency so far?
“Never does one open the discussion by coming right to the heart of the matter…to allow it to emerge, people approach it indirectly by postponing it until it matures, by letting it come when it is ready to come. There is no catching, no pushing, no directly, no breaking through, no need for a linear progression, which gives the comforting illusion that one knows where one goes…" - Woman, Native, Other, Trinh T. Minh-ha

What’s coming next?
“Maybe we need to build an eye from a diamond tear, the eye of a character who is a person who can see in a new way and who can dream with us, but cannot dream for us.” - Notes from before, Special Tears


Further reading:
Special Tears Notes from before