Costume is the mark of performance, both in the theater and in reality. A body of actors working from the instructions of a script is transformed into a drama via costume. The clothing of a person is their conduit into existing in reality and being a participant in the culture around them. Gender is frequently defined by rigid categories for costumes. Queering the controlling rules of gender norms begins with costume. Costume is the primary way how gender is expressed and communicated to others in a cisheteronormative world. My work queers ideas of costume, fashion, and taste and how these things relate to methods of subverting gender. I use photography and fiber art to learn and share the knowledge I discover with others. My photographs are stages that have been frozen, and I am the actor. In my work Hidden Valley, I utilize the campiness of a dress I crafted from over a hundred handmade tassels to drag-ify a dream-like grocery store. I do something similar with a laundromat in Soap Opera, where I stare at a camera in a 3D-modeled laundromat that is projected onto a green screen for over 5 minutes. My images and costumes theatricalize a certain version of reality which queer people are uncomfortably familiar with, which is the vulnerability of being in mundane, cishet-coded spaces.
Darion Hassertt is an artist and student working towards a BFA in fine arts and a BA in art history at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Their research is primarily concerned with questions of what defines gender, queerness, costume, and performance, and how all of these terms intersect with each other. They use photography and fiber art to conduct and express their investigations. Their process is based on the documentation of costumes that create characters inspired by public, utilitarian, transient places. They create stages and photographic productions around these characters that serve to theatricalize the quotidian. This is meant to discuss the performance of gender in society and invent avenues for queering public space. Their artwork has been shown regionally in Ohio.