friends, i want to go public about my artistic relationship with steven trull, also known as janey smith. he is responsible for the release of a text titled “we’re fucked” by peterbd, which described hundreds of people in sexual situations without consent, and misgendered several trans/nonbinary people. for further context please read here.
partly aided by steven trull, i used three women’s images without clear permission in my macro series, “tweets like a lovebird.” full details below.
in the making of the work, i solicited selfies from friends in the alt lit community and beyond, as well as finding selfies from google image search. 2/3rds of the images used were used with full consent and dialogue with the people involved. however, while making them, steven trull approached me offering to provide images of himself and female friends of his. i accepted those images and used them in my work without the due diligence of ensuring that these women had actually given permission for their work to be used. i merely took trull at his word, and in that regard i am now complicit in using images of women without their consent, in a work that has explicit sexual themes.
for images found online, i did not seek permission from their creators, justifying it to myself by comparing it to the usual images that i take and rework (celebrities, landscapes, etc), without thinking about the fact that these images are more sensitively tied to people’s identity and professional life. the work was published on tumblr, and extracts have been published in the most recent issue of pop serial.
all of the above was appropriative and wrong. by accepting his images, i am endorsing his abusive behavior and contributing to a culture where women are objectified. given that i did the same with images that i found online, i clearly have not been thinking through the ethical implications of my work, despite the good intentions with which i created it. i turned a work that could have celebrated the diverse ways people use selfies as creative expression into something voyeuristic and exploitative.
i have taken the work down, and ask that anybody with images from it not to circulate them further. i’ve already done damage by publishing the work, and the only way to halt that is to stop further circulation until either the problematic images can be removed, or i can get clearance from their owners.
i’m really sorry, everybody. i’ve participated in exactly what allows people like steven trull to get away with horrible abuse. further, all the friends whose images are included are tied with that as well. all i can say is that i’m sorry.
i was wrong to say image macros aren’t poetry
*snaps fingers, makes exploding noise with mouth*