Kenzie Sitterud confronts notions of the gender binary and codified identity norms. Their work is important in today’s context of identity politics and investigates the question of what it means to be unapologetically human. The liminal space is explored in works, such as The Kitchen Table, and speaks to the queer experience of dysphoria and the violence of categorized identity formulation. Kenzie’s work begins to break down the restrictive and suffocating nature of our gendered society and the harm this system causes queer folks, along with other oppressed peoples today.
In the work of The Bedroom, I am critically reconciling the non-binary perspective and the act of embracing the social norms that have been passed down to me via my mother. The Bedroom is a reflection of my personal experience and my indoctrination into the binary system growing up as a queer person. I investigate both the male and female roles in the American context, and how those have affected the formation of my own queer identity, along with what motivates this binary system in society.
I had a conversation with my very conservative mother about the state of our existence. Her conclusion was that had Eve not taken that first bite of the forbidden apple, mankind would still be living in peace. The damnation of mankind caused by a female archetype is a biblical tradition that has been absorbed and has retained power generation after generation. This censured narrative has crippled the fight for equality, and exemplifies the very depth to which narratives are embedded in the shared national psyche.
America inherited both European societal constructs and ideas. One of these constructs was the idea of the grid. Our national design and politics reflect this grid system. And, in addition to these principles, our cities were designed on a grid system, which has translated into the codified system of heteronormativity and the social norms that have contributed to the idea of the “American Dream”. The gender binary is a direct result of this system and upholds the necessity of gendered roles in a society that depends on clearly defined binary systems. In today’s political environment, the gender binary and subsequent norms have now become hyper masculine and have embolden the proverbial white man to act upon the power of privilege and to exploit the binary in an attempt to otherize marginalized people and maintain a sense of control.
The Bedroom is an installation that both represents the binary and the deconstruction of the binary. In our postmodern society, we have begun to evolve into a culture driven by technology and information. In the age of the internet, there is no excuse to be uninformed about gender and sexuality theories and the benefits to an equal and just society. The deconstruction of the gender binary will generate an opportunity to further democracy and liberation for all people, not only the privileged.
The Bedroom draws essentially from the concept of dysphoria that queer folks experience while maneuvering and existing within the confines of the gender binary. The viewer will physically experience a sense of disconnect because of the way the installation is designed. This work has the intention of providing insight to the queer experience and the willingness to confront the society that places this burden on oppressed peoples. My hope is to expose this system, and to challenge the ways in which we become either complacent or inspired to make changes and take action against oppression. And, ultimately, to fight for our human dignity and our shared human rights.
Images by: Wayne Rogers at 808 Projects
The Kitchen Table is a large-scale multi-media installation, built as an offshoot of my previous installation: The Bathroom (2008). My thesis researches the silenced queer identities in the worlds of art, history, and academia, specifically the silenced queer artist identities of the Modern Art Movement.
I was awarded the 2016 Nagel Thesis Grant for this installation. I also won Best in Show.
The instillation is meant to create the same dysphoric environment that the queer community exists in within a society that is not designed or inclusive of them.
The research paper reveals the silenced queer identities of leading avant-garde artists and designers while posing the question: Had these identities been more prominent, would the world be more accepting to the queer community specifically in designed documents (both popular culture & legal)? By embracing the aesthetic of the Dada movement, I created an environment that helps simulate the dysphonia queer bodies feel in a heteronormative society.
Respect the Cunt, The Bathroom was a large scale installation done in 2008. Its the perspective of what the bathroom see's. The ideas was to allow the viewers to all connect in a common area, the bathroom.
Under the creative direction of William Logan, I was assigned the task of creating a large-scale installation that would be the centerpiece of Denver’s first design week.
I started with a reference image and the Gitter Dome site map provided by William Logan. With these tools I began to design.
I fabricated the installation with limited time. I had to keep in mind our biggest constraint, the budget. The installation reached an audience of more the 1400 attendees at this sold out the event.
Here are few examples of my client work for commercial residential and commercial buildings. I experience as an installation artist and my education as an EGD designer to create fully immersive environments.
I work directly with architects and interior designers create fully immersive environments. From starting the creative conversation to production/installation I am able to manage the process from start to finish.
Tarragon & Thyme is my personal small business.
And environmental graphic design, commercial art, and production company. I was responsible for creating the full identity of the company and direct them into their next stage of business. After the identity was developed ArtPro's business increased significantly, establishing them as a design firm in the Denver area.
This idenity was created for a local hair stylist
In June of 2015, I was asked to be the Creative Director at MSU Denver’s Art and Literary magazine, Metrosphere. As creative director I brought the Metrophere to the next dimension by building a website fully coded wesite to showcase narrative time based works. This increased our audience nationally. I worked with a very talented staff, and the 2015/2016 Metrosphere won a Mark of Excellence Award as well as a nomination for the SRJA Pacemaker for best student magazine. Additionally, I have won three individual awards for submission campaigns and advertisements.
Volume 34 ISSUE 1
Volume 34 ISSUE 2 Interactive web base
Volume 34 ISSUE 3
I was honored by having the opportunity to be the creative director at the Zeromile. The Zeromile is collaborative class at MSU Denver where students work together to design and publish a full magazine, called Zeromile. As Creative Director for the magazine I was able to design and direct a very talented group of students into creating one of the Zeromile's controversial issues.
This is a sample of the magazine and a photoshoot I directed. The idea was to create tension with contrast, shadows, and unconventional poses. The images were used as the cover images, divider pages and marketing material for the release party.
The Back to Basics collection was originally designed for Metrosphere’s 2015-16 submission campaign. The campaign also was a part of a project to use symbols to create an identity for Metrosphere. The posters became so popular on campus that they were stolen from the walls of the art building within a few hours of hanging them. The different illustrations represented the twelve different creative disciplines at MSU Denver. The poster campaign also became very successful nationally, and I was honored with a PACE Maker award from the Associated Collegiate Press, an organization that recognizes the best individuals in collegiate journalism. I recieved a PACE Maker for best in-house ad campaign, for the Back to Basics posters series.
This show is a new medium for me. As an installation artist this show has challenged me to conceptualize on a smaller and non 3D scale. The photos are related to places I have been, and moments I have captured. Each piece is a statement to our current political climate — this show is a visual interpretation and reaction as an Artist and Activist. I believe that in dark times artist and musicians play a crucial role in the lives of people. Art gives the viewer something to think about.
As an artist, I feel it is most important to create work that makes the viewer think, rather than making beautiful things. This collection is a special variety show, mostly processing how our democracy has failed us and my reaction to a Country that is truly heading into a dark age. Perhaps in a way this show is a call to action, asking others to, use their voice or their abilities to do something.