Can sharing selfies be a radical practice queering gender binaries, questioning hierarchies of bodily value & creating community? Woolley & Davidson facilitate a workshop & critical reflection on their collaborative project Bois of Isolation (BOI): an Instagram platform for people of marginalised genders to share selfies of queering gender binaries during pandemic ‘isolation’. The workshop invites participants, in small breakout groups, to discuss and devise selfies that queer the gender binary: questioning & subverting dominant binaries & visual signifiers of power & social position. The session culminates in a group performance of selfie poses that will be recorded or documented via screengrabs. With permission, participant’s photographs will be shared on BOI.
BOI uses Instagram to share selfies that dare to subvert the gender binary & hierarchies of embodied value. While the sharing & consumption of selfies is an important social phenomenon, dominant circulation of selfies maintains capitalist practices of consumption & bodily norms & values that are patriarchal, heteronormative, white-supremacist & ableist. Through the disciplinary rewarding of culturally desirable and valued self-presentations with positive social feedback (‘likes’), platforms such as Instagram can serve to reproduce dominant norms & hierarchies of bodily value and display hostility towards & censorship of bodies deemed ‘other’.
BOI centres collaboration & care, & dares to merge art/research/activism. The process is public & unedited, our bodies & research process are shared, as are our mistakes & negotiations between freedom of expression, ethics of care & institutional ethical frameworks. An ongoing public conversation is initiated in which collaborators share their selfies, reflect on their process & ‘research findings’ are discussed. BOI collaboratively enhances queer visual literacy & contributes to common aesthetic spaces where gender & bodily plurality & fluidity are celebrated.