Born from agitation, foam is liquid and air churning against something solid. In visual culture, it disrupts the normative states of the body and gendered norms. Taking its title from a surrealist novel by Boris Vian, Foam of the Daze proposes foam’s levity, transience and excess as a potential schema for queering the body and traces it across visual art, film and material culture, from the mythic Aphrodite, spawn from Uranus' spumatic waves, to Pink Flamingos' absurdist foaming mouths and Boris Vian's surrealist bathroom.
When I speak of queering, I borrow from Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick:
[…] the open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning when the constituent elements of anyone’s gender, of anyone’s sexuality aren’t made (or can’t be made) to signify monolithically.
Bubbles build to foam. Peter Sloterdijk knows about this. In his wholly trilogy Spheres, the German philosopher examines humanity through islands and hothouses—as commune systems and immune systems. In this final act of Foams, Sloterdijk—a provocateur in the oblique—makes a case for life unfolding multifocally and multiperspectivally and, importantly, heterarchically—as in unranked.
In Foam of the Daze, Rose Higham-Stainton co-opts this world view for the body—in situ, in society. ‘There’s just something hopelessly queer about foam,’ writes Eileen Myles. Foam imagines an excess, not surplus, of matter that spoils the line and deregulates the surface of the body and the systems that hold it.
Published by Bottlecap Press in 2022.
Rose Higham-Stainton writes about new feminisms through art and literature. Her work is held in the Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths College and has been published in MAP Magazine, PIN—UP Magazine, The Skirt Chronicles, Ache, Worms, Deleuzine and SPAM. Her book Herēma was published by Sticky Fingers Publishing in June 2021 and considers flat land and women’s creative practice, in opposition to alpinism. Rose incorporates visual and sonic language into her practice and has been a guest on Montez Press Radio and NTS radio; and in 2021 participated in a transdisciplinary artist residency hosted by Kunstverein München. As an editor and facilitator, she co-runs Devotion writing workshops with the poet Sophie Robinson.