Cole, My Sooner Love is an installation exploring the shifting politics of climate change, urbanization, and queer identity in the American South. The piece draws inspiration from a close relative’s collection of writings, digital ephemera, and photographs that survey his life as a closeted gay man and former minister in Oklahoma. Three months of daily precipitation data from Harris County hang next to 100-year flood maps of Houston, layered onto found images and digital collages that offer a glimpse into southern BDSM gay male culture from the early and late 2000s. A looping video displays incidental webcam footage alongside oral histories and field recordings of flooding in Southeast Texas.
In bringing together seemingly disparate issues, the piece highlights a shared perception of climate change and queerness as exceptions or ‘anomalies’ that are too often ignored and controlled by dominant power structures. Development is encouraged despite rising flood waters, while the complexity of queer identity dismissed or tokenized. What ends up being pushed to the side only expresses itself in rupture elsewhere. Flood politics are queer politics.
Installation shots from the exhibition with/in: blurring the lines between art and education at Art League Houston, 2016