Shame is the First Betrayer
Shame is the First Betrayer continues Lindsey-Hall's unique explorations of queer life yet marks a departure from previous works which referenced past violent tragedies such as the Pulse night club shooting and Matthew Shepard. The new mixed media works instead focus on members of the queer communities themselves, most notably personal objects of cultural and historical interest.
Manifest of five years of research, Lindsey-Hall has meticulously culled text, images and objects from the variety of sources available at the Lesbian Herstory Archives, home to the world's largest collection of materials by and about lesbians and their communities. Founded in the 1970's, the Lesbian Herstory Archives has preserved records of lesbian lives and activities, allowing anyone who feels their life should be represented to donate personal items, granting future generations important access to a myriad of materials relevant to their lives.
Cultivating the chosen archival materials through a highly personal and carefully considered selection process, Lindsey-Hall was drawn to the writings and photographs of people proffering descriptions of themselves and their experiences. What was particularly interesting to Lindsey-Hall were the rooms of boxes she found in the Archives “Special Collections”, which fascinatingly contains people's personal belongings, including photographs and original texts.
Artfully changing the scale of the archival images and writings from small to large, the artist challenges viewers to interact with significant cultural artifacts from lesbian life in the 1950's and 80's--effectively placing objects on public view to a wider audience then researcher in the archive. Lindsey-Hall also presents replicas of unique objects from the Archives' rich history, recreating the banker boxes and a banister from the space in plaster--physically re-contextualizing the Archives.
Incorporating new techniques, such as directly silk screening photographs and texts on ceramic, metal, wood and fabric, Lindsey-Hall experiments with multiple layers of history. For example, one of the text pieces exhibited includes the Archives' original introductory notes on the creation of the Archive’s bibliography written by one of the founders, Joan Nestle. Presented in large-scale format, Lindsey-Hall reveals the writer's handwritten notes upon typewritten pages, an affecting mini-history in itself.
Lindsey-Hall's new installation serves as a singular homage to the Archives, a highly original artistic interpretation of its profound history and the ideas of searching and finding the critical links to a not so distant past.