Montreal: The Arts of Trans, Gender Diverse & Two-Spirit Lives Conference (April 6, 2018)

Arts-of-Trans-Lives-POSTER[1]

Montreal friendlies! I’ll be presenting on the Archives & Sketches panel on ‘recombinant’ & speculative poetics, 11:20-12:15p @ The Arts of Trans, Gender Diverse, & Two-Spirit Lives Conference (Thompson House Ballroom, 3650 McTavish St). This conference is free & open to all (no registration necessary).

This conference is part of a series of events organized by the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at McGill University, Montreal, dedicated to exploring tactics of survival, resistance and resilience in the lives of trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit people. This three-day conference will examine creative living through engagement with art, media and culture, as well as the creativity of survival tactics that make life more liveable for trans people. Art isn’t just objects or content, but a way to think about how to reanimate and open material, sensory and perceptual conditions of existence to more sustaining ends. It names the creative ways that trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit people navigate the art of living. Rooted in the local, this event also aims to share international (and intergenerational) perspectives.

At a moment where trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit lives are, in some ways, more visible than ever, silencing, erasures, circumscription and marginalization continues and even intensifies. In Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility, editors Gossett, Stanley and Burton describe the trap of visibility as politically and existentially problematic, a lure that promises social legitimacy but only within pre-scribed positions that fail to accommodate the multiple experiences of trans, gender diverse and Two-Spirit lives. How have trans people, through artistic, critical and activist practices, articulated non-hegemonic ways to talk about, practice, research, engage and value art, media and representation, in ways that can both address this bind, and acknowledge the world-making challenges such work can propose? What needs to change in critical discourse, pedagogy, curation and criticism to be in conversation with these questions? How might work not simply be invested in a politics of visibility, but in the claims of lived experiences of precarity, danger, colonization, fragility alongside forms of resourcefulness, support, imagination and survival that trans, gender-diverse and Two-Spirit people employ to endure and thrive, in art practice, but also in everyday life? Paul Preciado, author of Testo Junkie, described his recent curatorial work around performance and media arts at Documenta 2017 in terms of a move away from representative politics towards a “Parliament of Bodies”, noting that “the world is transitioning, but our institutions resist this transition. The museum, the school, the hospital need to transition.” What kind of work is already happening and yet to be done to take up this challenge?
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For the full conference schedule, please visit: https://mcgill.ca/igsf/events/igsfconference2018/schedule-horaire

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