Lily Wai Brennan is a craft-based interdisciplinary artist whose concern lies in the experience of living within ambiguous bodies. Inspired by pop culture, dreams, and meditation, Lily interrogates themes of interrace, queerness, and femme. Drawn by personal narrative, her practice acts as an entry point for conversation regarding marginal identity. Her thesis titled How Do the Visible Hide? articulates the complexities of voyeuristic experiences in marginalized folk as she finds herself affected by a recent stalking incident.
As a second-generation American, I was left with the residual trauma my mother experienced immigrating to the United States from Hong Kong. When you are an immigrant in America, your default existence is survival. There is an unspoken understanding that your cards were not dealt evenly, as the deck resists the othering form your body has shaped to.
Meandering through a childhood sited in a rural, conservative, white community, I was continuously faced with nonconsensual moments that highlighted my body as speculative. I learned very quickly what it meant to be marginalized. When you are displaced in an environment of whiteness, you can feel how visible you are in the world. Nothing is thicker than the otherness that reeks out of your apparently abnormal flesh.How does one hide from the world when you walk through it observed like an animal in a zoo?
Don’t look people in the eye. Draw your shoulders in. Cross the street. Zip up your jacket. Be dismissive. Be quiet. Be as invisible as you can.
I’m a fish out of water.
How Do the Visible Hide? is a manifestation of the events that occurred late last year, serving as a point of confrontation for the unavoidable visibility that marginalized bodies carry. As audience members watch the installation video performance, they occupy the role of both voyeur and subject.