While the blogosphere is still wrapping their head around the epic Telephone video, Out Magazine got a hold of Heather Cassils, whose prison-yard smooch with Gaga is one of the most talked about portions of the video. A long-time performance artist, Cassils went to the "Telephone" audition on a whim, and the kiss she and Gaga shared was completely unscripted. While her interactions with Gaga are worth a read, Cassils also speaks about her art ("I use the fact that the image is live to try to capture and transfix people, because people can walk away from a painting.") representation ("binaries are dangerous across the board"), about the co-option of queer identity for pop stars ("That's been going on since the dawn of time."):
And as a visual artist I think of the body as a sculpture of sorts. If you can manipulate it via exercise and diet and physically empower yourself and give yourself a body that has a certain masculinity to it -- that has a lot of power and you can insert that into mainstream images. People get really caught up on language, and when you're talking about these things people get kind of hysterical, but when you just present them with an image of something that's "other" or that they can't plot, I think that's really important -- and to offer up something in between that doesn't have binaries -- because it offers people more options.
Cassils goes on to talk about strategies for folks when it comes to queering the system:
Gone are the days when if you're against the war you go and protest on the street. Protesting doesn't stop wars anymore. Going to your gay pride rally is nice -- it makes you feel good, but unfortunately we don't live in that era anymore. The only way you can create social change is to insert yourself into the machine.
Say what you will about "Telephone" (hey, not everyone wants to make a sandwich), but it's awesome that it's prompting these discussions. Check out the full interview!