Heather Glazzard and Nora Nord’s upcoming exhibition, Porridge, aims to challenge the commercialisation of their sexuality
“The camera’s role in our relationship was immediately established as an unspoken agreement between us,” Heather Glazzard says on their upcoming exhibition with partner in life and art, Nora Nord. “It became a tool for building trust.” Their first exhibition Porridge documents this process, featuring over 80 photos of the couple, and will invite its guests to directly immerse themselves in a world outside both the heteronormative landscape and the commercialisation of queer; one where gender roles are dismantled, negotiated and communicated.
Showing for one night in an east London home, the images conjured by the two photographers will be shown in context in an interactive ‘lived-in’ domestic scene – a decision which Glazzard says, is purposeful: “Queer has always felt outside of the home setting, so I wanted to bring it into that family space that was more domestic.”
Like the clothes (and sometimes egg cartons) they don, Glazzard and Nord shed their skins and transform effortlessly throughout this body of work. This constant evolving and shifting of presentation highlights the role that clothes and appearance play in their expression. “Clothing is naturally the way I express my gender fluid-ness,” says Glazzard. “The role it plays for me [in Porridge] is about how it can drastically alter my energy as either masculine or feminine.” Nord concurs, “It is a signal to the world that I am not straight.”
It was frustration during their studies at Central Saint Martins that initially prompted the development of the then-unnamed project; a struggle to find any representation of a relationship that existed in contemporary art, a relationship like theirs. “After finding that the only things that did exist [in the mainstream] were mainly made by gay men, I really felt that a path should be created for other people,” says Glazzard. “That’s how society is now, so we are at a perfect time to show this project.”
Not only was Porridge inspired by a lack of queer representation, but also an urgency for the community. Having experienced countless homophobic aggressions since the start of their relationship, Glazzard stresses the importance of normalising a realtionship like theirs in mainstream media: “I live in fear to hold Nora’s hand after the verbal attacks we’ve received, which is why putting this project out there is so important for me,” they note. “I am finally beginning to get rid of the shame that is often attached to a couple that doesn’t involve a man.”
As for the story behind the name of the exhibition? The underdog of the breakfast table not only perfectly sums up domestic life and routine, but also bridges the cultural gap between Nord and Glazzard. “It’s very Norwegian and very English,” says Nord as she sums up the heart of the body of work succinctly: “Porridge is part of the mundane everyday; the kind of mundanity we want to celebrate. When you eat it in the morning it keeps you full until lunch. It’s good for you. You can sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar, or you can have it plain – just like everyday life.”
Porridge by Heather Glazzard and Nora Nord runs for one night on December 2, 2019. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org.