pleasurehome: desiring queer space︎︎︎
Art Museum, University of Toronto
curated/comissioned by Logan Williams
*Note: this project is no longer live but if you like code, you can still run/check it out via github here!︎︎︎
“Climbing uphill for the chance at a kiss, Shawné Michaelain Holloway’s SPEEDRUNHOME.PAGE concludes pleasurehome: desiring queer space with an invitation to a new home.
In Anna Anthropy’s 2018 Might Jill Off, Jill is tasked with the protection of the Queen’s tower as her loyal and dutiful servant. The online game opens with Jill’s desire to kiss the boots of the Queen but must first climb to the top of the tower in a series of challenges to be granted the opportunity. The fulfilment of this perverse pleasure is contingent on a successful run from top to bottom and made possible again, in the case of death, with the replenishment of new ‘lives’ in an inevitable win for the diligent gamer. Resounding from this narrative are the obstructions placed in the way of desire; the queer subject is tasked with an obstacle course of deadly missions before they can experience the unfolding of their pleasures, with violence left as necessary residues on each new desire. For Shawné Michaelain Holloway, the game stands as a testament to the necessity of building queer home through reconsidered environments, to observe the potency of the queer experience in The Mighty Jill Off through re-establishing a space to consider the pursuit of pleasure. For thirty days, Holloway welcomes web users to transform their homepage to SPEEDRUNHOME.PAGE for deeper contemplation on how queerness is mobilized in the space of the day, for better and for worse, through a combination of poetry, images, and audio testimonials that take a new shape every day. The sprite who persistently climbs up and down a ladder in this ever-changing online environment not only confronts the trope of the girl in the tower but asks viewers to consider the embodied relationship that emerges from pursuing desire. “
“As with much of Holloway’s work, SPEEDRUNHOME.PAGE moves beyond the framework of the internet by considering the performativity of spaces and queer experience, gathering source material from friends and colleagues to imbue the webpage with a life of its own. A daily return ‘home’, a shift in the interface, a new collection of poetic gestures: this accrual captures the dense landscape of potential meanings home has for each of us as pleasurehome reaches its final days. Holloway expertly guides us to an end of more questions, of deeper contemplation, much like Jill climbing the ladder, toward a desire we simply cannot abandon. “
— Logan Williams