In 1993 McDiarmid wrote and performed an essay, accompanied by 35mm colour slides, entitled ‘A Short History of Facial Hair’ in which he brought together his personal fashion, grooming and adornment story and his political and sexual history, representing a twenty-year period of his life and times. The essay was first performed at the AIDS political forum, ‘HIV: Towards a New Paradigm’ in Melbourne in April 1993. It has subsequently been published in the gay press and scholarly publications. Beautiful, hard hitting and humorous the work is an interrogation of McDiarmid’s appearance changes from hippy to clone, to Gay Liberation activist, sexual revolutionary, hustler, dance floor diva, and ultimately, HIV–positive queer subject - his self styled ‘Toxic Queen’. He traces how gay politics changed during what he described as “an extraordinary time of redefinition and deconstruction of our identities from camp to gay to queer”.
‘A Short History of Facial Hair’ which has not previously been seen since the artist’s death in 1995, has been digitised and re-created as a14 minute film by Berlin based, Hermano Silva. At LCF it was screened in conjunction with a display of McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms – a suite of fierce and seductive digital art works created in 1994-5.
Fashion Space Gallery
Sydney Morning Herald