The Queer Writing on the Bathroom Wall_INDEX

The Queer Writing on the Bathroom Wall
documents my typographic augmentation of a found instance of homophobic graffiti within a Midwestern truck stop men's bathroom, resulting in the redesign of a coded language system as a medium for the queer community to “talk back” against instances of targeted hate-speech. Using the source graffiti gay fagget (sic) fucker die you know it's a truck driver, I appropriated the author’s non-repeating 20 letterforms and used his strokes and angles to construct the remaining, missing 32 letters for a complete uppercase and lowercase alphabet based upon his writing style. Through a process of mirroring and overlay, I arranged these letterforms on top of each other to design a coded, homosexualized alphabet of same-letter ligatures, or, same-sex letters having sex. Inspired by theoretical underpinnings of Glissant's other, Foucault's confession, and Humphrey's tearoom trade of private behavior in public spaces (among others), I returned to the original bathroom stall and deployed my own response, written with my coded language and reading let’s face it, we’re all queer (a graffiti battlecry from the 1970s New York City queer revolution on Christopher Street), directly on top of the source graffiti.

Desire teaches us that the more something is kept as a secret, the more we are driven to uncover or interpret it. By pitting my typographic solution against the source, I'm hoping to achieve simultaneous eradication and communication in order to to reveal a disidentification within the author's targeted homophobia, to play with the notion of emotional baggage carried within the individual strokes of handwritten letterforms, to reconstruct and reclaim queer identity through encoded semiotics, and to empower a marginalized community with a metasymbol-based language system in which the disempowered graffiti artist cannot answer back.

Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York City
(The museum contains a typographic specimen of source, uppercase, and lowercase letterforms from my Fagget Fucker (sic) Gay Alphabet and an installation photograph from my truck stop intervention.)

A chapter about this series is featured in Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences, Routledge, 2015.