ToyToyToy, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics
Vortrag Eliza Steinbock
Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change
In this lecture Eliza Steinbock will discuss their recently published book, Shimmering Images: Trans Cinema, Embodiment, and the Aesthetics of Change (Duke University Press, 2019), which traces how cinema offers alternative ways to understand gender transitions through a specific aesthetics of change. Steinbock will explain the context of the sea-change in discourses and images around trans lives that they witnessed while writing the book, and how in their research they came to approach the long, varied history of depicting and discussing gender transformation. Of this archive of cinema and trans cultural production Steinbock ask, “What if trans embodiment is not primarily about sex and gender, but about experimenting with the aesthetics of corporality in terms of efficacy and political purchase?” With this question they pursue the transsexual logic of cinematic embodiment.
Gilles Deleuze highlights “the disjunction between seeing and speaking” as a cinematic practice, but Steinbock has investigated it as being an important transing practice of reassembly. That shimmering disjunctive-conjunctive cinematic images are a norm in, rather than an exception to, perceiving the modes of de- and re-linking can be harnessed to the project of transgender studies. Tackling the way transness has been privileged as a site of exceptional change, the gambit of shimmering images is to show the steady or halting, but nonetheless ongoing bodily effects of delinking and relinking normative connections among sexed morphology, gendered embodiment, and sexual desire. At the close of my talk Steinbock will also introduce their second book in progress on how transness is valued in the artworld (Cherishing and Perishing in Transgender Portraiture) and how archives are critically activated by trans artists investigating historical records and the authorization of the label “heritage.”
ToyToyToy, Grafik, 2019 © Kunsthochschule Mainz