Resisting heteronormative neoliberal capitalism : motivations of a queer designer
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Historically, the design profession in the US has been beholden to the capitalist free market; most projects are commissioned by clients, who are in turn motivated by capitalistic goals. In order to gain greater visibility and rights in the public sphere in the US, many LGBTQ+ people have chosen to follow a heteronormative social model, in particular by embracing the institution of gay marriage (rather than by making the more radical move of challenging the utility of the institution of marriage for queers and straights). Marketers have pounced on the opportunity to sell products to this new, socially unthreatening homonormative demographic, which, like heteronormative groups, has tended to express citizenship through consumerism. As a form of what Kalle Lasn calls culture-jamming, I have made a series of subversive artifacts and communication devices that resist hetero- and homonormativity and articulate a radical queer politics of design and anti-consumerist citizenship. My works are informed by radical queer theory and non-normative, queerly-inspired content, methodologies, and aesthetics; the sex toys, in particular, are polemical objects intended to challenge and disrupt the homonormative consumer culture fostered by the twenty-first century’s neoliberal economic environment.