Legacy Russell is a writer, artist, and cultural producer. Born and raised in New York City’s East Village she is the UK Gallery Relations Lead for the online platform Artsy. Her work can be found in a variety of publications worldwide: BOMB, The White Review, Rhizome, DIS, The Society Pages, Guernica, Berfrois and beyond. Holding an MRes of Visual Culture with Distinction at Goldsmiths College of the University of London, her academic and creative work focuses on gender, performance, digital selfdom, idolatry, and new media ritual. Her first book Glitch Feminism will be published by Verso and is forthcoming in late 2017.
Legacy we are so excited to have you interviewed as the theorist behind Glitch Feminism, with your first book Glitch Feminism soon to be published by Verso and forthcoming later this year 2017. Can you talk to us about the movement and the Glitch Feminism Manifesto?
Glitch Feminism and its manifesto look to the digital as a means of queering the corporeal; it asks for a more varied approach to understanding gender and calls on the creative application of Internet as material as a means of expanding and pushing back against the boundaries of binary.
My “Glitch Feminism Manifesto” was first published in 2013, commissioned by digital theorist Nathan Jurgenson for The Society Pages, and then later expanded into a short essay as a commission for new media art publication Rhizome. In the spring of 2013 my paper on Glitch Feminism was accepted into University of Sussex’s “Queer Feminist Social Media Praxis Symposium” and in the fall of 2013, my paper was also accepted into University of Surrey’s “Corporeal Computing: A Performative Archaeology of Digital Gesture” conference. Since then Glitch Feminism has gone viral, included in feminist art history syllabi at a variety of institutions such as The Cortauld Institute of Art (UK), The Royal Academy (UK), Evergreen State College (US), the University of California at Santa Cruz (US), and beyond. It has also been included in publications and productions put forward by The F Word (UK), Kingston University (UK), The Photographers’ Gallery (UK), Stockholm University (SW) University of Massachusetts Amherst (US), Boston University (US), McGill University (Canada), and more. I’ve lectured and participated in panels speaking on Glitch Feminism at the “Theorizing the Web” conference in New York City (2015); the Institute of Contemporary Art in London alongside Sarah Kember and Laboria Cuboniks, as part of the programme “Technofeminism Now” (2015); Arcadia University (2017); Castlefield Gallery (2017), and more. It’s been so exciting and inspiring to see the language and impact of glitch grow such legs and travel out into the world in this way.
What does Feminism mean to you?
Feminism is complicated and often muddled by its lack of inclusivity. I believe that a true feminism must not wait on male-identifying bodies to relinquish power as a means of working toward equality, nor should it use the violent societal archetype of “woman” to exclude queer female and femme-identifying bodies.
As an artist, which type of art do you identify with and what themes do you have a passion to pursue most?
Born and raised in the East Village of New York I came of age around poets, musicians, drag queens, punks, Boricuas. I was very blessed to learn how to perform my selfdom via this cultural milieu. Performance art, therefore, resonates deeply with me. In particular, I am interested in performative action as it manifests online, and how these actions carry forward into offline expression; mapping those loops is essential to me.
As a writer, what real-life experiences have inspired you?
Going between New York and London over these past years for various projects, work, and research has provided me with some powerful global and creative perspectives.
Lastly, what is #BEYOUROWN in one word?
Twitter: @legacyrussell | Instagram: @ellerustle