See the Blackwood Gallery website for the transmission audio file, ASL interpretation, and full transcript.
In March 2021, I received an invitation to participate in a project by Chilean-American artist Constance Hockaday at the Blackwood Gallery at the University of Toronto. It was a beautiful, fully-formed proposal for me to join a group of people who were crafting a new kind of fireside chat, a different political style.
When I met with Connie and started dreaming of what I might say, I meant to ask how she heard about my work. But I forgot. And then at a certain point I decided I wasn’t going to ask. Hello, I’m a President!
Actually taking up the idea of myself as President was hard. I don’t live in hope for electoral politics. Connie pressed me to really stay with the challenge. If I was seriously in charge, what would I say? I realized I had a very cavalier attitude about the idea of addressing the public. This speech became a way for me to take more seriously my access to others’ attention.
My first draft was really not cute, to be honest. It was full of little jokes I wanted to send to other crips. Connie was like….um, it’d be nice to get in on whatever you’re signaling? She is an excellent editor.
The second draft was where I found it, an idea for how to use coziness as a political analytic.
I had my presidential portrait taken by my dear friend Louise Hickman. I knew I wanted to be seen on a screen within a screen, the Zoom look. And I loved the idea that I could be in two places at once: on my couch in New York, but also on Louise’s table in London.
The Blackwood Gallery coordinated the signed version.
And then I assembled 100 songs that capture cozy world-making possibilities. I organized things into conceptual crates (in descending order): WARMTH RETENTION || PROTECTION SPELLS || SLUT || THE CUDDLE CRATE || JOY || HOME || SLOW CONCEPT (misc.)