Edition of 5 + 1 Artist Proofs
Edition of 5 + 1 Artist Proofs
George Morl has a varied and often synergetic body of work. Most recently they have worked with performance and video to produce and compose works that question the power dynamics of queer spaces both physically and virtually.
Infinite Beings (Autistic Trans Matrix) is Morl’s first short film, which is a narrated video that traces Morl’s trans relatives erased story, whilst reflecting upon their own gender identity as a disabled person. Following the principle of ternary logic programmes and sci-fi literature from Cornwall, which centres multitudes of dialogues which merge at the finale, which Morl recounts as central to their artistic practice discource regarding neurodivergent approaches, this work oscillates between both poetical, conceptual, and narrative dialogues.
Morl uses the landscape of both Essex and East Anglia to locate and trace the emergence of the ‘Network’, from scientific and physical concepts to present online modes and platforms, which now act as the main space for queer visibility. This evolution is depicted in the video, evidencing Anglo Saxon burial culture, construction of Norman castles to defend nobles, discovery of ‘electricity’ in Colchester, the use and evolvement of medical language in Norwich, migrations of refugees in the sci-fi book ‘War of the Worlds’ in Foulness, credit cards in Southend, construction of the New York Stock Exchange back up in the Basildon Data Centre, and queer telephone support exchanges in Colchester, whilst considering how these ‘networks’ have established in 21st social digital culture as a polarised platform for intersectional queer voices.
In stark contrast these are mirrored by explorations in the way transgender and or autistics utilise contemporary virtual worlds and networks to express their identity, or connect with each other, through video games, or even social media accounts, often because the power dynamics and the structures of queer spaces, or the modes queer people connect and meet, language barriers, often isolate intersectional voices due to the prejudices that may exist against transgender and disabled people from within the wider queer community.
What is interesting about this work is that Morl sourced and conversed with autistics and transgender individuals through the internet, having dialogues with those from across the world, some from Autistic Provision Centres in the UK. Transcribing these written conversations, Morl wrote a script that was inspired by these words, which seeks to become a visual archive, a form of activism, a new queer conscience, one that hopes to centre all disabled and queer voices. This collective of autistic and trans voices becomes the Autistic Trans Matrix (ATM).
“Using the burial concept of Anglo Saxon culture found within Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea; this historic site included blue glass beakers, gold crosses, and orange glass beaded necklaces, Morl sees this as an early example in the way society used colours and objects to declare status. This burial is as such an archive, in the same way a queer person may now use rainbow emojis or coloured flags to communicate information about their sexual and gender identity to audiences”
Throughout the video we navigate images and documents of digital seascapes, landscapes, buildings, technological apparatuses, microscopic imagery, vigils, tributes, human limbs, animals, plants, fluids, as well as archived images from Morl’s personal family records, which become metaphors or vehicles for the subsequent narration. Each image is either rendered through microscopic tools or is coded to match colours that are used within dating app logos, autistic and neurodivergent charities, as well as transgender and genderfluid flags.
These images are overlayed with a range of alternating audios from the video opening with breathing sounds recorded using scientific apparatuses, to poems about intimacy recited from smartphone voice notes. Spoken in various compositions, from notes, lists, sometimes incoherent, or fragmented speech, these echo the fluctuating dialogues that can be expressed by people with neurological conditions. The resulting dialogue is one of profound desire for connection, whilst also recognising that as individuals we do communicate, and are affectionate and sexual beings, in as much as wider queer culture erases this out of lack of true visibility and societel bias.
The central narrative follows Morl maturing from childhood to adolescence, whilst presently retelling the evolution of the network in history and critiquing queer spaces. Between these are interjections exploring their own genderfluidity transition story, whilst also tracing the history through a pilgramage and archiving a tribute to Morl’s relative Suzie Morl a disabled transgender woman who is memorialised on the world’s first Transgender Memorial in Salford, as well as making visual and audial references to feminist approaches in autistic psychiatry through the recognition of it as a ‘spectrum’. The video in its entirety and composition is a continiuum spectral display of variance and voice.
Though different, the saturated and at times static colours in the video make homage to Derek Jarman’s film ‘Blue’ which explored his growing awareness around HIV, using the colour theory of Blue in art history as a metaphor for a range of human emotions and the experience of pain.
Ultimately this is a form of futurism that considers humanity in the presence. The Autistic Trans Matrix (ATM) is a work that educates at once both the past and present.
Directed, script, sound by George Morl
(Header Image: Screenshot Still)
︎ Assosiated Awards
TOW Residency, 2020