BA Fine Art 2020

Teal Sparkes

︎ Awarded Best in Show ︎

The exhibition explores the theme of futility against forces greater than ourselves. The work is rooted in the Concepts of Cybernetics and simulation theory, homing in on the idea that our universe functions on an algorithmic basis and how this ultimately diminishes any control we have over our lives, focusing on an angle of optimistic nihilism that suggests the acceptance of futility means that we are able to dictate what is meaningful from our own perspective. I have specifically decided to analyse these themes in the context of the homogenization queer people. In my contextual research, I learnt about how the Hays (Motion picture production code) has shaped LGBTQ representation within popular media and how, in turn, this has effected the societal expectations of queer people.

The film ‘Upgrade’ features my alter ego Perla Skates as she tries to indoctrinate viewers into joining her cult like organisation. Her portrayal as the ruthless yet charming dictator of the multiverse is in reference to the many queer-coded villains to come out of Hollywood as a result of the Hays code. Thematically, the film depicts a personal conflict, trying to reconcile with society’s preconceived notions of the LGBTQ community as a whole and how this distorts queer individual’s self- perception. The title ‘Upgrade’ is in reference to the desire for change and progression that has been manifested into the root of all equal right’s movements but it also speaks of the personal desire to transcend the limits of your physical self; the need to become malleable and represent the architype of a successful queer who is easily digestible from a heteronormative point of view. This is juxtaposed to the title of the exhibition ‘HA! Imagine’ which re-iterates the idea of accepting futility, referring to the comical naivety of the connotations that the title ‘Upgrade’ holds.

︎︎︎ Artist Website


︎︎︎ Birmingham School of Art  ︎︎︎
BA(Hons) Fine Art  ︎ 2020