IN YOUR TRUTH YOU ARE A WIDE AND OPEN FIELD
When I created “in your truth you are a wide and open field” I was considering how the ability to imagine selfhood and identity is limited by the internalization of cisheteronormative patriarchal dominance. What sort of affect does that leave within and upon the transgender body? I wanted to address the need to understand how we are limited by our indoctrination, and how we can begin the process of disentanglement.
The performance had a duration of three hours. During the performance I was situated in the center of a circle of dirt wearing only bottom underwear. This exposed the mostly cisgender public to the reality of a transgender body, something many cisgender people do not have much experience witnessing. I slowly wrapped wire around my body, taking almost the entire duration of the performance to do so. In front of me was a cassette player with a pair of headphones which allowed one witness at a time to listen to ambient vocal loops as they watched, creating an experience of intimate space between myself and the person listening. Toward the end of the performance I got my body out of the wire and left the wire in the center of the circle.
I recognize a need to examine which beliefs about myself, about my own possibilities, are occuring from a place of pure immanence, and which are occuring from the internalization of external dominant paradigms. What beliefs do I hold about myself and the possibilities for what a “self” can be? I must understand how my becoming has been limited by dominant paradigms and how I can get beyond the limits enforced upon my imagination in order to become liberated, and reclaim my body for myself. In terms of being transgender, I am investigating how my expression is shaped and corrupted by the toxicity of cisheteronormativity, and I am excavating what lies beneath all false beliefs which limit my ability to have agency and self-determination. I am exploring the bodily effects of the experience of limitation. As more and more wire is wrapped around me, my ability to move and breathe is restricted. The embodied experience of repression is constraint and suffocation. The piece is hopeful in that it ends with the removal of the wire and the freeing of the transgender body.