“Gender Diasporist” (in progress) (historical documents, installation, text, video/audio/photo)
“Gender Diasporist” is an interdisciplinary artwork including video, installation and text, which examines ways in which the state determines the parameters of our bodies. “Gender Diasporist” is a collaboration with the Office of Human Rights and Ombudsman of Warsaw, and Trans-Fuzja, the transgender activist NGO in Poland.
‘Gender Diasporist’ is an interdisciplinary project combining video, photo, vocal performance, historic documents and artifacts, using what I call ‘transsexual knowledge’ to interrogate how borders and concepts of citizenship make moral and ethical claims on our bodies. ‘Gender Diasporist’ examines ways in which the state determines the parameters of our bodies, by outlining the theocratic ‘gender recognition’ law in Poland regarding transsexuality and citizenship. I believe that both the topics of nationstate and transgender are of urgent interest. I applied for Polish citizenship as an out transsexual person of Polish-Jewish heritage. This was both a decolonial gesture, a refusal of the ‘right of return’ and an act of solidarity with feminists and LGBTQ+ allies and activists in Poland. Over the past 4 years I’ve been back to Poland 3 times to photograph, shoot footage, interview activists, artists, journalists, curators and human rights lawyers, as well as document my first trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau with my uncle on the 75th anniversary of his liberation from the camp. I also travelled to meet LGBTQ+ activists in Belarus, and with their help tracked down the house where my mother was born. On December 9, 2019, after a lengthy process, I was granted Polish citizenship. I will develop ‘Gender Diasporist’ as an interdisciplinary artwork that examines this legal process and its socio political and cultural implications, thanks in part to support from Center for Traditional Music and Dance NYC, generous funding from Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada, and Ontario Arts Council – Conseil des arts de l’Ontario via The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery as recommender. It’s my hope that the ‘Gender Diasporist’ project, via #transsexualknowledge will develop critical contemporary resonance(s) with issues of migration, inhabitance and border.
in-progress lectures were presented at:
2019 ‘Gender Diasporist’ excerpt presentation – Koło Naukowo-Artystyczne “Introit” i Festiwal Sztuk Wyzwolonych, “Womens Journeys in Eastern Europe”, Artes Liberales, Warsaw, Poland
2019 Gender Diasporist excerpt presentation – MAKEOUT Belarus
Support for portions of Gender Diasporist has been granted by:
2019-20 NYSCA/Centre for Traditional Music and Dance Folk Arts Apprenticeship, NYC and Canada Council for the Arts.
This project has received travel support from Canada Council and exhibition support from Ontario Arts Council/Power Plant Exhibition Assistance program.