Alexa Vachon is a Canadian born image maker and visual storyteller. Her work focuses on themes and subjects she has personal experience with, often collaborating with people who don’t fit neatly into society’s boxes. Driven by feelings of exclusion and alienation, she looks to others’ experiences in building identities, and how people position themselves in their communities. Vachon’s projects focus on themes including agency, addiction, loss, the body, queer identity, and power structures but aren’t tied to one location or perspective. Her work has been published widely and she includes mentoring and teaching as part of her practice.
S/KIN BERLIN: 52.49˚ N, 13.42˚ E is a photo-based project about people and bodies in revolt. The images focus on the body as a site of rebellion through which to interrogate themes of oppression, agency, opposition, and emancipation.
The manipulated images examine the traces on our bodies, both visible and invisible, highlighting the relationship between artist and participant, between enabler and collaborator. The work focuses on agency in its precarious forms, challenging the audience’s assumptions of acceptability by unashamedly centering performance, gender identity and sexual exploration.
S/KIN BERLIN is born out of desperation and agony, stemming from a place of physical pain and emotional torment. It uses images to explore the body as a site of rebellion through which to interrogate our experiences with power, agency, and opposition.
S/KIN BERLIN is for people who celebrate their bodies, and people who fight with their bodies; for people who find joy in their physicality, and people who are repulsed by intimacy. It is for people who use their bodies as tools and as sources of strength, and people who are captive in non-cooperative vessels. It is for those who demand an audience, and for those who feel ignored, exiled, and erased.
S/KIN BERLIN is about illness, disability, depression, abuse, erasure, and secrecy. It is about watching and being seen—about voyeurism and exhibitionism, enablers and collaborators. It is about digging uncomfortably deep into our minds and bodies, and revealing the things we don’t want to be confronted with.
S/KIN BERLIN is about consent. It is about subverting the roles of submission, domination, contortion, and control. It brings what we do in our private spaces into the public sphere, inviting you to gaze on our bodies, on our terms. We have been generous with our flesh and our souls; wield your power gently and listen to the images you see.
S/KIN BERLIN is made with my queer kin, my chosen family–the dreamers and radicals, the deviants, the whisperers, and the fairies. It honours those of us who live with shame, pride, vulnerability, and joy. We stand together, work together, play together; judged for how we look and who we love.
S/KIN BERLIN is beautiful, repulsive, seductive, and uncomfortable. It was made to engage with, not to gawk at. I will not tone it down to make it palatable. I will not sanitize my life. I will not continue to hide. This is our stage. I want it to titillate you, like it frightens me. I want you to hurt like I hurt.