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Final project idea

I actually have two projects in mind:

The first project shares the aesthetic qualities of the “heads on barb barker” outing we did in the class earlier this year. As a trans person, I am interested in change and fluidity in people’s identities and bodies over time...

I am interested in how these transformations may be effected and shaped by the person’s environment as well as their inner struggle and strength. Also, how the same set of transformations may shape the person’s surrounding and emotional landscape. What stands between you and your potential to realize yourself? How is that different for people with different levels of privilege and access to resources in society? What kinds of possibilities get blocked off and what opens up for you as you assert yourself over what is forced down upon?

My vision for the piece was via using the stop motion technique, having myself transform into many different identities and make it look like it is just happening on its own. In other words, think about a bunch of heads possibly starting at the same state and then transforming towards various different tangents. The obvious transitions are related to gender, hence various “drag” identities. However, the renowned documentary Paris is Burning by Jennie Livingston (1990) makes it clear that drag is not only about gender. People sometimes revolt against the obstacles of the real world by engaging in drag performances that allow them to become anything and everything that they cannot possibly become in real life. One of the characters in the documentary Dorian Corey says (she is amazing really, if you haven’t seen it already, i would highly recommend seeing it):
“In real life, you can't get a job as an executive unless you have the educational background and the opportunity. Now the fact that you are not an executive is merely because of the social standing of life... Black people have a hard time getting anywhere. And those that do, are usually straight. In a ballroom, you can be anything you want." -- Dorian Corey

Now, of course it would be better if the audience could somehow interact with these heads as they go through their individual transformation. Maybe they will be able to disclose their support and hostility towards the ones they feel strongly about. Given the level of transphobia in society (note: stupid MS Word does not recognize the word ‘transphobia’ for instance), maybe it is a bad idea to encourage people to publicly show such sentiments. Then again, in her brilliant performance “Cut Piece”, Yoko Ono allows the audience to engage in some sort of “violating act” by letting them cut a piece of her clothing, while she passively sits on stage. As time passes by, Yoko Ono gets more and more naked and uncomfortable as the members of the audience continues to cut yet another piece. Well, guess who gets most engaged in the act of cutting and races for the scissors? Yes, men. Using nothing but her passivity, she exposes brutal qualities of power and throws one of the best fucking slaps in the face of patriarchal hegemony that I have seen. Hurray for Yoko. In conclusion, I still need to think about a good way to allow the audience to interact with the heads… Maybe.

Second project is for District 202 and TYSN (Trans Youth Support Network). Instead of projecting on to walls, I think I want to have a big piece of cloth hanging in the air and project from behind so people see this floating canvas with objects that changes, moves on it. I would like it if there was also a white board like set up where people can brainstorm, collaborate, make art together. I mean look how pretty our brain storming session with a brown marker and a white board turned out for the Mississippi river outing ideas. I guess I need to figure out how to back lit a board like that and then use a camera and blow it out of proportion (make it big) and reflect the content either on the floating canvas or on a building of choice in downtown. Since the camera can also record, people would be free to erase and restart content and we could project overlapping images across time, do some sort of image collage I dunno. If you guys have better ideas to spice it up or have references/resources that you think I should check out for inspiration please do let me know.

Oh, there is one other thing: I saw a dance piece at the walker called thin air where they used surround wrap and projected image/video on it so the image and video wasn't visible until someone started using a white paint and paint the surround wrap, the gradual appearance of image was cool. But that is very much an indoors set up I think. And there was another instance, where they projected on some loose clothing on a dancer, the projection was a video of the same dancer. They matched the body ratios, so it was these overlapping bodies doing their own thing, it was trippy. I am not sure if I liked or hated it, but I know for sure that I got nauseous.


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