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M{IF} talk by Jack Halberstam : Trans* Art

Trans* Art
M{IF} talk by Jack Halberstam
February 2nd, 2019 I 18:00

In his brilliant, humorous and whimsical parody of a Smithsonian book titled American History in 101 Objects, artist Chris E. Vargas, in 2015, invited visitors into his imaginary Museum of Transgender Hirstory to see a show titled Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects. Riffing on the self-importance of the Smithsonian title, the precision of its 101 objects and its investment in the notion of authentic history in the first place, Vargas called attention to the way that a history of gender variance will necessarily fall by the wayside in any canonical account of American history and will require its own object lessons. The objects that collectively tell the story of gender variance are counter-intuitive and suggestive, risqué and emblematic. For Vargas’s show, the objects ranged from queer banners by Tuesday Smilie to sculptures of hybrid creatures and photographic records of transgender lives gone by. What Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects made clear, however, was that a trans* history is all at once a mobile set of materials and an archive of mobility. In this talk, we will, explore the wide range of materials in this archive and craft with them a trans* politics.