An ardent activist for human rights, Stacey Kirby creates installation and performance work that invites participants to engage in conversations about identity, citizenship, and human rights. Staged as a bureaucratic office space, participants in CIVIL PRESENCE are led through a multistep process during which they are assigned and physically stamped with a number on their wrist. As their numbers are called, individuals are interviewed, fingerprinted, asked to prove their identity with documentation, then measured, and “processed” by the civil presence officer on duty who arbitrarily decides their level of “absence” or “presence” based on their written “Civilian Statement of Presence.” As the artist’s intent is to foster community engagement and participation in socio-political systems, everyone is marked “absent,” asking participants to consider how they can become more engaged and “present” in this moment.
CIVIL PRESENCE is a site-specific installation presented in conjunction with the exhibition The Future is Female, which explores intersections between female identity, mythology, the natural world, and power.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stacey Kirby is a queer artist and self-appointed civil servant from North Carolina. Fueled by the current political climate and ethnographic research, her work addresses issues of identity, citizenship and civil rights through performative interactions in alternative, private, and public spaces. Kirby believes in freedom through creative embodiment and invites visitors to become active participants in her work to empower the voice within all of us.