Monica Mays’ practice draws on linguistic schemes, auto-ethnographic stories and histories to speak about forms of labour, cultural identities and alternative imaginaries. Her work varies from object based to performative gestures, from sculptures and installative constructions to spoken words, aiming to generate other methods of togetherness, to explore ‘alternative practices of sociality’, paraphrasing the words of Sylvia Federici.
Her objects, are characterised by an aesthetic domesticity; they can be handled, carried, touched. Her sculptures are made in a way that allows their circulation, transformation, mutation in time and space. Offering them the possibility of being in a state of constant fluidity, her objects become metaphors that trace the continuous kinships and dynamic entanglements that socio-political structures embody. How does this endless fluidity of a remotable artistic object can be utilised as a means for looking at and with a non-normative way of collaborating and co-existing in the world? How does the artistic process itself, when morphing through micro-productions and delegated labour practices, can become a vessel for thinking across the intersections of personal and collective identity?
The aforementioned subjects, come together through the somatisation of an elsewhere and otherwise. Mays’ practice applies to a then and there, to a world that is not yet present, paraphrasing the words of scholar Jose Esteban Munoz. The use of neologisms and idiolects in her works’ titles and descriptions emphasises her will to challenge and blur the limits of current ethics and poethics, of normative socio-political and interpersonal axes. Through occupying and staying with a non-verbal, tacit knowledge, her work becomes a commentary on constructing another commons, erasing dichotomies, scoring oxymora. How does the home, a micrography, a demography of a larger system of affiliations can be redefined and reinvent vicities and kins among its members?
Mays’ practice is thinking across alienation’s structures as a mode exploring a parallel practice of personal and communal ethics and politics. Her work, intending to ‘change the oppressive system form within’, quoting Angela Davis, is re-inventing the meaning of social, cultural, waged and unwaged labour mechanisms, without exotising or demonising their current functions and frictions. Her objects and words become intercessors for a thorough investigation on the connotations of idealised pasts, instrumentalised folklores, appropriated authorships. The priorly mentioned subjects, are explored through the body, a body in crisis, in movement, in association with its sentimental, conceptual and graspable surroundings. Interdisciplinarity, arises in Mays practice as a politics, holding things, identities and socio-political ekphrases together when necessary, yet also letting them be separated and singular when acting as autonomous entities.
Ioanna Gerakidi, 2019