Taking the form of a false archive, Lesbian Ancient Aliens: The Sapphic Paradigm examines culturally appointed privileges given to certain members of society, and asks what would happen if these privileges were suddenly given to a historically oppressed minority.
Housed within the archive are objects, videos and images all associated with famous lesbians throughout history. These objects are also connected to an experience the individuals within the archive had with lesbian aliens. Clearly the aliens are a fiction and their interactions with the women in the archive just an invented part of the story. This conveys multiple points 1) history is easy to invent; anything can seem plausible when presented in a manner that communicates credibility and authenticity (the museum display), and 2) when very obviously invented things are balanced with very hard, honest truths it plays with our perception of what is real and what is not, calling into being the whole subjective nature of the universe.
To illustrate the narrative pattern, I shall provide you with an example: the sword pictured above is a replica of the sword of Joan of Arc. An illiterate farm girl, Joan was able to take control of the French army and defeat the English by listening carefully to the voices inside her head. The sword is also significant because of how Joan acquired it: the voices in her head told her of its location – behind an altar in the church of St. Catherine (it is also interesting to note that St. Catherine was one of the voices she heard in her head on a regular basis). If we factor in the ancient alien theory, then the voices of the religious saints Joan of Arc heard in her head were really the voices of extraterrestrials. If we factor in the lesbian ancient alien theory, then these were the voices of lesbian aliens leading Joan of Arc, a lesbian herself, to historical greatness.
Other objects in the archive include: a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to her lover describing an encounter with a sapphic space craft; a comic book by lesbian author Patricia Highsmith telling one of the first modern narratives about the lesbian ancient aliens; the musket ball that cross-dressing revolutionary war soldier Deborah Sampson dug out of her own leg under the instruction of mysterious voices; and much more. The objects and the stories of the famous lesbian women are all housed inside the Lesbian Ancient Alien: Expanded Archive.
Visible above are more objects from the collection, all pertaining to a certain document, Lesbian Ancient Aliens: The Movie directed by queer cinema icon Jennie Livingston. The three over-sized advertisements were on display during the movie’s opening in 1995. The costumes, that of a lesbian ancient alien and of a cave lesbian, are also on display in a sort of abstract environ evocative of the theater. This dramatic installation is intended to suck the viewer into the world of the lesbian ancient aliens.
The following is an excerpt from my written thesis regarding Lesbian Ancient Aliens:
“My work, Lesbian Ancient Aliens: The Sapphic Paradigm, takes the form of an archive, utilizing the context of the museum to present an alternative history and investigate the formation of power structures. The archive houses the stories of real historical lesbian women, the stories of which are fictionalized to include an encounter with lesbian aliens. Utilizing this specific form, I am able to create a meta-narrative that challenges our preconceived notions of history and culture. Lesbian Ancient Aliens is a projection of a constructed future; it is a Utopia, wherein cultural forces aggregate around the needs of lesbian peoples.”
I’ll end this post with a quote from the seminal text on the ancient alien theory, Chariots of the Gods written by Erich von Daniken: