Pillow Talk (2024)

Pillow Talk is a creature that integrates capacitive touch sensors in two highly tactile crafts: textile and ceramic. This creature is full of language: when each piece of metal in its hands and chest is touched, it speaks to you with the words of queer and trans theorists and writers. Laying on its chest and touching it, you hear more personal, emotional stories and secrets.


Sex is deeply relational, as is gender. (For example: “daddy.”) As such, sex can be a powerful technology for shaping gender, acting directly on and referring directly to the body in one’s preferred and desired terms and ways. Simultaneously, sex and gender inform queer culture, which tangles with dominant culture at large, exposing and eradicating what’s shameful or perverse in a clash over public and private. Pillow Talk attempts to express the effects and affects of those transformative, intimate encounters among strangers, showing how queer and trans people co-create their identities and worlds.


Its face is a ceramic cast of mine, leaning into the act of self-construction and serving as a strange avatar. It’s half-snake, phallic yet cuddly, leaning into monstrousness—the reclaimed, constructed, portentous transsexual creature of Susan Stryker’s “My Words to Victor Frankenstein,” and the burdensome monster of Barthes as abject lover in A Lover’s Discourse, who erases the beloved’s subjectivity by overwhelming with its speech, and becomes “one huge tongue.”



Python for interaction, Raspberry Pi with capacitive touch sensors and conductive thread, sewing, embroidery, casting, handbuilding.

View the technical diagram.