– October 2016 –
Art Historian & Queer Theorist Robert Summers in conversation with Leon Headstone.
Given this is a queer visual arts project, can I ask how do you identify?
The ultimate question! I do not want to belong to a group. I fought all my whole life to keep my personality traits, and I categorically denied that I be labelled me as a product. I am my own product.
Balaclava.Q was started as an aesthetic response to global hate crimes—and especially the Orlando tragedy—so, have you ever experienced homophobia or a hate crime?
Personally no, but I have friends who have been gay bashed in public. But the biggest injustices and inequalities are society ignoring LGBTQ lives, which lead to suicide, but when that happens it seems to be “too banal” for the media to cover. In the worse case events around homophobia, one year gay men were shot standing in front of a club, which happened near my home, but nobody really talks about it in the mainstream media, and it is just as tragic.
Does covering the face give you a sense of power? If not for some sort of power, then why do you cover the face?
It is not the about power itself; rather, it’s the aspect that the “other” must beware, and it also raises the issue of a balaclava as a fetish.
But, there is an aspect of fear — rational or irrational fear, which we have all experienced. For example, the fear of the unknown. I think that this specific fear excites even today — in the twentieth-first century.
Does an alter ego play a role in this body of work?
“Leon Headstone” is my alter ego — a persona that I invented. On another level, this “Leon Headstone” sleeps inside of me, and by wearing a mask, I am always connected with this inner self, and it is this that allows me to stay connected with reality.
Would you like to discuss your video piece you have on Balaclava.Q?
It is almost stripped bare of my any secondary visual elements. Towards the end, I remove my mask, I drop my weapons, and then I withdraw my clothes and hide my dick with a blast of light.
I would like to state that this “Leon Headstone,” was originally a purely personal and psychological creation to assist me to liberate me from social and personal chains. But, today he is my symbolic self, which, for me, means my liberation and my freedom. The guns also signify strength — in rebellious way. In fact, this video was, for me, a way to never forget the efforts and fights I have had to face in my life. In three words, this video is about “my human part.”
What country are you from? Or, where do you live?
I’m from Belgium, Brussels.
Can you describe the successes and pitfalls, if any, of being a member of the LGBTQ community in your country?
Maybe the only one I see is to be locked into only being seen as an gay artist, and only being in the gay scene, which is limiting. Most of gays hang out only in gay bars, maybe we can talk about “heterophobia,” I don’t know?
I do not consider myself an exclusive member of the gay community, but I do see myself as a dynamic human. I’m not militant. And, I see gay pride as only being this mega party—with barely dressed, drunk people on every street corner. I find it sad to be locked in one group of friends or one community called gay or LGBTQ.
Artist Leon Headstone became part of the Balalclava.Q community on 21st August 2016, below you can view Headstone’s submission to Balaclava.Q.
For Balaclava.Q Headstone has submitted art video:
‘Ray0fLiGht’ / 2016 (Duration 0.45 seconds long).
Pictured below are x3 stills from ‘Ray0fLiGht’.
Scroll to the bottom of this page to watch the full video.
Please click here to watch ‘Ray0fLiGht’ / 2016