In my art, I search for alternatives to neoliberal and heteronormative expectations of the self by celebrating failure, awkwardness, and losses of composure. For years I have worked with the contortions my face makes during sneezes, yawns, laughter fits, and crying. The sneeze, in particular, has held my attention for its uncontrollable explosiveness and universality. I gravitate towards involuntary bodily actions that interrupt the face partially because of the face’s connection to selfie culture as well as more generally how people present themselves to the world on and offline.
Most recently, I have been working with a character named Noodle. Started as a crudely drawn self-portrait, Noodle is now a sewn three-dimensional being that I lend my body to and animate from inside. With super long, dangly arms and a giant head with an ambiguous expression, Noodle’s body is awkward and hard to control, making Noodle a beacon to all the exhausted weirdos in the world. Noodle is perhaps an answer to the question: Can uselessness and awkwardness be generative?
April White (they/she) works with watercolour, print media, performance, and animation. They hold a BFA from Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of NL (2012) and spent much of their career in St. John’s, NL.
Image: How far until the pasta is al dente? Performance of a walk along the Lachine Canal in November 2020, photo documentation by Megan Stein.