Philip Cornett’s practice embraces mixed media installations that include video, sound, and performance. He is currently collaborating with Paul Kindersley in their LOTUSLAND project, inspired by artist Jack Smith. Smith’s DIY aesthetic and obsession with the ‘exotic’ in his durational performances in his NYC apartment and movies (ie- ‘Flaming Creatures’) led him to become the ‘Daddy’ of queer film and performance art. LOTUSLAND gained its name through Smith’s manifesto-like writing entitled ‘THE CAPITALISM OF LOTUSLAND’:
Could art be useful? ...art must not be used anymore as another elaborate means of fleeing from thinking because of the multiplying amount of information each person needs to process in order to come to any kind of decision about what kind of planet one wants to live on before business, religion, and government succeed in blowing it out of the solar system. Let art continue to be entertaining, escapist, stunning, glamorous, and NATURALISTIC - but let it also be loaded with information worked into the vapid plots of, for instance, movies. (1997, p11)
LOTUSLAND began as an eight week residency at Norfolk Street, Changing Spaces, Cambridge where they curated weekly public events that began to build a local network of queer artists in Cambridge. LOTUSLAND has been exhibited at the Ruskin Gallery, Cambridge - Z33, Belgium - and the APT Gallery, Deptford. With each iteration, we have collaborated and also acted autonomously to continue to use this platform to queer the space of the gallery. LOTUSLAND’s strong link with queer critical theory allows us to experiment with our practice and work through our understanding of important queer theories. The project embraces an instinctive mode of production within a critical framework, and curated live performance events. It has created a social platform of enquiry regarding the assimilation of queer culture within a neoliberal suburban society.
Throughout LOTUSLAND, Philip Cornett cultivated a strong interest and passion for queer world building, identity narratives and queer aesthetics in contemporary art. Artwork produced by this research has so far been in response to specific research surrounding homophobia, post-queer sensibility, queer futurity/utopia, and the search for a queer ideality. Theorist José Esteban Muñoz has been a key influence.
Cornett recently became a studio artist at Wysing Arts Centre, which has become LOTUSLAND HQ. He completed the MA in Fine Art (Distinction) at the Cambridge School of Art (2015), and has received a MA in Sound Arts from the University of Arts London (2010) and a BA in Sonic Arts from Middlesex University (2007).
Hoberman, J. and Leffingwell, E. eds., 1997. Wait For Me at the Bottom of the Pool : The Writings of Jack Smith. London: Serpent’s Tail.