Actions/explorations: Focus on changing the body (physical appearance) - Binding, putting on a wig, Extreme make-up, different clothes - gender-bending as self-love?
Films - cabaret, man for a day, American vagabond
reading - trans* 101, trans* rights timeline (booklet), Nobody Passes
i think this week I've been discovering the flesh of my enquiry. I know the core is using self-love as a political tool for disruption, but the past week this has specifically tied in to the idea that increasing your self-acceptance means increasing your visibilty.
Looking at the nuances between drag performance and the everyday experience of identifying as trans*, I'm interested in placing the two things in a space. When I was binding and trying on different gender presentations in a room, I was letting my gender expression effect how I choose to identify (as I do everyday). I was acknowledging the performativity in experimenting with my genderqueer body. How ever, watching Diane Torr's Man For A Day, she told her participants that when "dressing as a man" they should "separate your self from who you are as a woman, and become a male persona, exerience what it is like to be a man". I noticed the difference between Torr's adoption of a persona to explore what she perceives as someone else's gender identity, and my experiments to let the "personas" be another way of exploring the multiplicity of my own gender identity. There is no gender that is off limits to me.
There's a long history of the schism between cis-performers who use drag for entertainment, and trans* activists (and more recently performers) who view gender as in the brain not on the body. They let their gender expression actively effect what gender they see themselves as, hence I'm of the belief that the only reason Torr is not a man when she drags up is because she does not see herself as such.
This week (and throughout my process), I want to further explore trans* history (both historical figures and past attitudes), current trans* representation/stigma and most importantly find my voice within those things. With all the theory and history I am keen to keep exploring and embodying, so I plan to look at some of Torr's and other drag/feminist performer's work and see if I can recreate these performances.
After watching Cabaret, I've been thinking about that format and how often it's used in queer art. For my piece I've had images of me performing different "acts", some more theatrical queer performance/spectacle, and other showing more juxtaposing private acts that trans* people are less likely to show - given that these acts help them pass.
One last point - I've realised one of my key intentions is for the audience to have space to explore their own gender identity/otherness. What will make my piece different from stereotypical drag performances I have seen is that I am asking the audience to question their own otherness, not just witness my own.
So yeah! Still lots going on, being particularly drawn to songs that capture the history... plus found out that the trans* movement and black panthas were allies in the 60s.... Wow...