What great day for (the official) transgender day of visibility! This month I’ve been working on getting more research out there in the public eye. I wrote a new ‘research portrait’ of J. Jackie Baier focusing on her collaborative, extended portraits, which came out this morning on the Huffington Post, and tonight I’m giving a talk at the van Abbe Museum Eindhoven on “Navigating Portraiture while Gender Non-Conforming” (31 March). I’m the finale speaker of the “queering the collections” project, and the first to bring in images from trans visual artists, including Hans Scheirl, Pyuupiru, and Juliana Huxtable.
The blog post is titled, “Follow the Protagonist:Trans Woman and Visual Artist J. Jackie Baier on Committed Collaborations”. It includes images from the last 15 years of her art practice, documenting protagonists in her surroundings at underground queer punk parties, trans and drag performances, and in a trans girls working club.
I prepared a big slide show and basic information on transgender politics and portraiture theory. While sharing images of trans* portraits by contemporary artists, my lecture will raise questions like: What are the power relations and subject positions involved in a portrait? How to navigate portraiture while gender non-conforming? How do trans aesthetics enliven portrait-making techniques? How can transfeminist insights help us better appreciate the value of portraiture? Following the talk, we will have a drawing exercise to explore both sides of portraiture, questions like: How does it feel to look and to be looked at? How does the gaze translate onto paper?