Gabriel Lee

Multidisciplinary designer • Artist
Gabriel Lee's work explores language, embodiment, and queer & transgender relationality. They are interested in what happens when deeply intimate, human subject matter is processed and transmitted through machines. Their objects & articulate machines generate and convey feelings of disgust, rage, monstrousness, alienation, loneliness, vulnerability, obsession, curiosity, solidarity, & connection.

They use computational repetition and lists to evoke rituals and patterns and often incorporate text and wordplay, examining language as an act of creation. They house electronics such as touch & proximity sensors, speakers & printers, and motors in organic, uncanny forms to make them come alive and to create magical-feeling interactions. Their recent artworks are primarily in interactive & non-interactive sculpture, computational poetry, and text with image.
Thesis Faculty
Ever BusseyKellee MasseyAndrew Zornoza

Pillow Talk

An intimate close-up of a person cuddling with a creature with a ceramic head and deep blue taffeta body, listening to its words.


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.

Shot from above of someone cuddling with the creature on its twin platform bed.
Close-up of a hand delicately touching the metal wires embedded in a ceramic hand. In the background are the deep blue torso and cobalt blue velvet tail of the creature.
Touching the wires embedded in the fingers of the left hand.
Touching the metal beads (milagros) sewn to the chest.


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.

Close-up of the creature’s grey- and black-glazed face.


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.”

Gabriel Lee laying on the creature, with its blue velvet tail draped over them.