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This image depicts a kitchen, framed through the edge of a doorway. In the center of the image is the stovetop where a bright blue flame is emitting from one of the burners. Over the dial of the stove is a pair of plyers almost suspended in mid-air as they appear to be turning the dial. To the side of the stovetop is a kitchen counter where a knife appears suspended in mid-cut through an onion standing on its side on a cutting board. On either side of the cutting board are a set of spices lined up against the wall and a plastic bag of lemons and onions that looks as though it is about to fall off the edge of the counter. This image conveys a ghostly and haunting quality that calls on the missing "subjects" of the image, and the affective power of the image is also conveyed through the deliberate use of low exposure and muted colors.


Darren Spirk

Analog photography/text, 2022


This series addresses absence and presence as shifting and interlocking nodes of queer experience that cannot be mapped onto a progressive politic of visibility, where mundane spaces and objects in my and my partner’s home create embodied absences as well as embody lingering presences related to our careful navigations of the private sphere in Cairo. Inspired by Tina Campt’s work on stillness/stasis, absence)/(presence refuses the straightforward visibility of queer persons at different positions of precarity to state regimes and instead engages an alternate sensory arrangement to bodily-optical tactics of the hetero/militaristic. Here, scenes of care and intimacy do not call on a promised humanity but rather refute the structures ensuring such a promise is never fulfilled.