Aaron McIntosh, Assistant Professor, Craft and Material Studies
At the intersection of quiltmaking, storytelling, social practice and archiving, the Invasive Project creates quilted queer kudzu vines adorned with stories of LGBTQ contributors and archival documents that celebrate and make visible Southern queer culture. Invasive, created by artist Aaron McIntosh, uses kudzu as a slippery metaphor for both the rapid growth of public support for gay rights and the creeping homophobia that comes along with this growth. Proudly, Invasive reclaims kudzu as a symbol for Southern queer visibility and tenacity in the face of homophobic stereotypes that otherwise obscure our rich histories.
Because participants’ stories are crafted objects (rather than written or oral histories), Invasive is an innovative interdisciplinary collaboration between a studio-based field and an academic-archival one. The project includes travel across the Gulf states to gather stories through community workshops, visits to several LGBTQ archive centers, and the launch of a new interactive website for project participation. Eventually, these accumulated kudzu stories will form an overwhelming sculptural mass of Southern queer visibility that will be exhibited at art centers and public events across the Southeast.
McIntosh’s work was supported by a 2016 Dean’s Exploratory Grant.