Birdie (FKA Valentin Brown):
Welcome to my Regulated Body
Emerging Artist Residency / Members’ Gallery
May 6 – 28, 2022
Reception: Friday May 13, 7 – 10 pm
Let me tell you about my worms. Sometimes, if you squish them, their flesh crackles and purrs underneath their skin. Sometimes, they leave dust on your fingers.
I wrote you a poem about my worms, though I call it an audio description. I don’t think a poem is necessarily a better way to describe something to somebody who cannot see. I just made you a poem because the worms asked me to, just like how they asked me to make them from your ex-girlfriend’s t-shirt. I surrender as they wrap themselves around the headphones in the gallery. I let the light in from the window so you might see us shift in and out of sight.
I do none of this alone, though I do all of this because I am lonely. I call myself a transsexual because transness, madness, and disability are all similarly medicalized, and the word transsexual gestures at that. Though I hold embodied and cultural knowledge that is traced by connected struggle, my difference can still be bought. I am filling my whole apartment full of worms.
When I first met you, I thought that you looked like you were from the future. Maybe that’s why I believe you when you say that there is something out there imagining us, something always the same distance away. Somehow, you knew I would never believe you if you gave me a guide on how to love you. I yearn for it, that slippery something, and I hope that it still yearns for us too.
Valentin Brown (who goes by Birdie now) is a practitioner of longing. Birdie searches for care and intimacy, practicing longing through notions of accessibility. Like artists and thinkers before her, she envisions disability and difference as transformative cultures that connect all our struggles, rather than things that are isolated only in the body. As an emerging multidisciplinary artist, Birdie creates multisensory, site-specific installations that are led primarily by audio description in tandem with tactile sculpture.
Birdie has exhibited these installations as solo exhibitions at Tangled Art + Disability (2019), Art Gallery of Windsor (2022), and Centre (2022). In 2023, she will present a new solo show at Hamilton Artists Inc. Birdie was a participant of the Intergenerational LGBT Artist Residency (2019), the Centre Emerging Artist Residency (2021), and was a 2020-22 artist-in-residence and gallery assistant at Hamilton Artists Inc.
This exhibition is generously supported by: