Under your skin, you look divine

Basement, Auckland Pride, 2018

Under Your Skin You Look Divine realises the important role sex stores and cruise clubs play in contributing to queer culture and identities. Likewise, the internet has provided a virtual space for queer identities and sexualities to develop and flourish.

Situated in one of the longest-running owner-operator sex stores and cruise clubs in Aotearoa New Zealand, Under Your Skin You Look Divine invites locally based artists to take over the store in a one-night flirtatious digital queer mess of an exhibition.

Featuring work by Val Smith, Jordana Bragg, Tash Keddy, Lila Bullen-Smith, Owen Connors, Aliyah Winter, Sione Monu, Abbey Gamit, Richard Orjis, Juliet Carpenter with George Banach-Salas, Tommo Jiang, Ary Jansen, Samuel Te Kani, Jessica Morgan, Alice Senescall, Jaimee Stockman-Young, Magdalena Hoult, Natasha Matila-Smith, Hera Wing and Daniel John Corbett Sanders.

Under Your Skin You Look Divine examines the politics of both virtual and ‘real’ representations of queerness, pulling ideas of self-image, perception, performativity and intimacy offline and into reality.

Organised by Daniel John Corbett Sanders with Basement Adult Shop & Cruise Club, Under Your Skin You Look Divine takes its inspiration from The Other Day in Paradise, an exhibition by artists Ioane Ioane, Yuki Kihara, Andy Leleisi’uao and Nick Netzler, hosted by The Den, Karangahape Road in September 2003.

Auckland, Richard Orjis, 2018

I’m at the beginning of mapping a queer ecology of this port city, this isthmus of 1000 lovers,

on the ridge of the club foot underdog, under the mountain by The Basement adult entertainment store,

S&M gardening with Michel Foucault,

our history is a secret geography, a subterranean mythology,

our monuments aren’t fashioned from marble and our faces don’t grace plastic bank notes,

Ngahuia Volkerling is not frozen in bronze, poised at the entrance to Aotea Square,

no parks are named in honour of the liberation,

our revolution was fuelled by twentieth century wars, a Stonewall bar brawl and the plague,

our struggle, intrinsically linked to the ‘others’, people of indigeneity, colour, women, and the earth,

I traced our history via dried up drinking holes and hook up sites,

‘cottaging’, ‘gardening’, a ‘milk-run’ from Albert Park to Durham Lane,

we have an AIDS tree on Constitution Hill, but I couldn’t find it,

we have ever-changing NZAF billboards in honour of our dead,

reminders of a pathologised identity,

bed fellows with disease,

soil and sodomy,

we have virtual monuments though,

online,

archives, hidden papers,

the search engine of the Auckland Art Gallery came up blank,

someone at lunch said three lesbians designed the Tino Rangatiratanga flag,

Google won’t say,

our ancestors reside in court records and innuendoes,

murder trials and police entrapment,

magical gold painted sirens and shape shifting, name changing artists,

slippery like the sea,

we made second Edens,

Heroic gardens,

our protest down Ponsonby Road became a parade for giants (corporate),

norm core flags, norm core fags,

our histories are like crabs at Cheltenham beach that scamper out from upturned rocks,

our young emerge like popping bubbles across a muddy sand beach,

we are not Edmund Hillary on this Island, we don’t see our history in children’s books,

this city, read in a million and a half ways,

I’m at the beginning of mapping a queer ecology of this port city, this isthmus of 1000 lovers,

on the ridge of the club foot underdog.

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