In Little Joe, Number 5, conversation with Cassils, ed. Sam Ashby.
Cassils: In my performance Becoming an Image, I wanted to use abstraction to speak to a transgender experience that imagines a body that is un-foreclosed. The blows, kicks, knuckle creases and hair follicles are registered in the clay as an index of the volatile process. The sculpture starts with my body, which I must train in order to create the sculpture, but its shape manifests in total darkness. No one can see the process of the sculpture as I shape it. It is only through the flashes emanating from the photographer’s camera that the audience experiences brief retinal burns, singeing the process into their eyes for an instant.
Zach Blas: There’s a tension between the live performance and what gets left behind: marks from, and of, the body that read as a mode of abstraction. It seems that abstraction can be a queer process that allows for critical distance: it makes identification difficult.