“Pronouns Not of My Own Making: Language and Gender Miscrecognition in the Academy”

by eddie gesso


ABSTRACT: Using my personal experience as a transperson, I explore the potential for visual art to challenge hegemonic gender norms by envisioning the inbetween space of being neither male or female.

Working out from the texts of Judith Butler and Jack Halberstam, I discuss how gendered language used within queer and trans communities produces visible bodies, yet when used within straight culture often strips self-identity from trans-people producing, if only for the moment, invisible bodies. It is this unique moment, the temporal space of being both visible and invisible, that serves as a starting point for my investigations. Examined are the self-structured acrylic forms by artist, Linda Besemer, and the body/landscapes from my painted drawing series.

ARTISTS: Linda Besemer and eddie gesso

Click here for the PDF.

“Myself as the Same or the Transsemiotics of 'Basihelm' Identity: Kathy Acker, Michel Foucault, and Jorge Borges Take on the Problematics of Static (Gendered) Language”

by eddie gesso


ABSTRACT: Inspired by the fictional reworking of Miguel de Cervantes' literary masterpiece, Don Quixote, by Kathy Acker and Jorge Borges, I embark on my own deconstructive and plagiaristic adventure. By replacing keywords, "Myself as the Same," reworks selections from Michel Foucault's [Don Quixote as Hero of the Same], Jorge Borges', "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," and Kathy Acker's "Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream." Usurping the original meaning of these literary and fictional texts, "Myself as the Same" decontructs gender, dismantles linguistic structure, and in hommage to Kathy Acker, offers us a gender-free Don Quixote.

The resulting text, finds Foucault examining the complex terrain of being neither female or male; Borges' Pierre Menard dismissing the use of surgery and hormones in order to become not-female or not-male as too easy; and Acker's Don Quixote conversing about how being genderless in a world of gender is to be non-human.

SOURCES: Kathy Acker, Mikhail Bakhtin, Jorge Borges, and Michel Foucault.

Click here for the PDF.

“Visible Invisibility: The Lives and Deaths of Transgender Women of Color”

by eddie gesso


ABSTRACT: Between November 2006 and November 2007, 17 transgender deaths and murders occurred. Of these deaths, transgender women of color were the primary victims. Using health studies and anti-violence reports, in conjunction with statistical data and newspaper articles, this paper focuses on the death narratives of three transgender women, brutally murdered between January and March of 2007, in California, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

Fueled by social anxieties and fears, anti-transgender murders occur as violent attempts to repossess male space and reinforce the gender binary. Documentation of these violent and dehumanizing murders is further complicated by these same biases resulting in miscategorization and underreporting.

Working with the recent scholarship of Vivian Namaste, this paper looks closely at how newspaper reports of the murders of Nakia Ladelle Baker, Ruby (Ordeñana) Rodriguez, and Erica Keel reveal attitudes toward gender, sexuality, race, class, and politics, and illuminate the vulnerability transgender sex workers and prostitutes face in their daily lives.

In Remembrance.

Click here for the PDF.

“Performing Transgender, Performing Self: The Intersectionality of Bodies, Visibility, and Minimalism in Art Practice”

by eddie gesso


ABSTRACT: This paper investigates the potential within my artistic practice to interrogate the ontology of gender and sex without representing the body figuratively and looks specifically at works created in 2007.

Taking as the starting points for my investigation this paper examines the performativity of the following: indeterminate painted surfaces as narrative sites of personal expression; repetition in size (paint and substrate), surface, and shape (exterior and internal) as methodologically refusing normalization; covering and erasing as speech acts which declare a new selves; and the endlessly reconfigurable and reorganizable painting body as structurally cohesive.

ARTISTS: eddie gesso

SOURCES: Judith Butler, Charles Gaines, Jennifer González, José Esteban Muñoz, Yoshino Kenji, and Lucy Lippard.

Click here for the PDF.