Deviant Bodies 2.0 Artists Bios and Statements

Jaishri Abichandani, New York City and Bombay, India

One Night in New York, a multimedia, public art installation, incorporating video, sound, kinetic light boxes and still photography to present a personal portrait of Muslim drag queens at the moment when fantasy becomes real. These images offer a space of acceptance and imagination in sharp contrast to their experiences.

Abichandani’s solo exhibitions include Nature Morte & Gallery Chemould in India, the Castle of Good Hope in Capetown and NYU APA Studies Institute Gallery. She was granted the Enfoco New Works Award (2000) and curated Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now at the Queens Museum of Art (2005).

Francesca Galliani, Milan, Italy

“…I could no longer tolerate how [transgender people] were despised, humiliated, rejected and ridiculed by society at large and, more disappointingly, by the gay community, the very community that should embrace rather than further marginalize [them],” simply because of their appearance. These images celebrate and reveal dignity, beauty and power. Using hand tinted black and white images, we are commanded to see them as sexy, strong, dignified women worthy of a high fashion spread and erotic thoughts.

Galliani received a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, major in photography (1988). She won the Kodak Young Professionals Award (1995).

Emi Koyama, Portland, Oregon

Koyama is a multi-issue, social justice slut, synthesizing feminist, Asian, survivor, dyke, queer, sex worker, intersex, genderqueer, and crip politics. She has been the keynote speaker at the Translating Identity Conference and the Western Regional LGBTQIA College Conference. She is currently the director of Intersex Initiative, and is putting the “emi” back in feminism since 1975.

Del LaGrace Volcano, London, England

A gender-variant visual artist accessing 'technologies of gender' in order to amplify, rather than erase, the hermaphroditic traces of the body. I name myself a gender abolitionist and a part-time gender terrorist. Volcano believes in “crossing the line as many times as it takes to build a bridge we can all walk across”.

Volcano has produced four monographs: “Love Bites,” Gay Men's Press 1991, “The Drag King Book” (with Judith Halberstam), Serpent's Tail 1999, “Sublime Mutations,” Konkursbuchverlag 2000 and “Sex Works,” Konkursbuchverlag 2005. His latest short videos include “GENDER QUEER: Qu'est-ce que c'est?” 2005, “The Passionate Spectator” 2003 and “Journey Intersex” 2000.

Michela Ledwidge, London, England

This mashed-up installation continuously re-mixes, via audience participation, one web installation and three videos. Tackling how gender identity and sex markers (legal sex on birth certificates and driver’s licenses) impact our understanding transitional milestones such as marriage, it is mixed in with video that examines the self-imposed rules of femininity by transwomen.

Jana Marcus, Santa Cruz, California

Transfigurations aims to illuminate who transgender people are, a subject the mainstream culture has often shadowed in mystery and misunderstanding. By removing all props, the viewer is forbidden to judge the subjects by their surroundings. Staring back, returning the dominant gaze, asking to be recognized, the subject confronts the viewer with their presence.

In 2003, I started interviewing and photographing transgender men (female-to-males) about their journeys of self-discovery. I found the thought processes intrinsic to what kind of men they were striving to become, and what was informing their choices, were the stories I wanted to tell. In 2005, I turned my lens to transgender women (male-to-females) to photograph and document their thoughts on femininity and how societal pressures may have influenced their views on womanhood. The final works are presented as diptyches with text, from the interviews along side the portrait image.

Marcus works as a professional photographer in the California Bay area focusing on the documentary, editorial and performing arts genres. She received her MFA in photography from San Jose State University, a BA in Sociology/Community Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and studied photography at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Tara Mateik, New York, NY

Operation Invert is a video that explores the question "are gender outlaws considered the new biological terrorists seeking weapons of mass bodily destruction?" Operation Invert compares the different regulations mediating botox-related plastic surgery and gender re-assignment "sex change." Historical medical assessments of the invert (homosexual and transsexual) "condition" reveal seemingly outdated absurdities about outsider deviance. Nonetheless, current institutional loopholes governing gender re-assignment surgery suggest a fresh resurgence of loony pathology and diagnosis.

Around the same time that I got top surgery-a double mastectomy with nipple graphs-the United States waged "war on terror", and the FDA approved the use of botox, a classified "weapon of mass destruction", as a cosmetic drug. To obtain my surgery I needed a letter from my therapist. Yet a consumer can arrange a house party, fashioned after the Tupperware party, where the doctor visits you to administer botox injections. I thought the double standard as clear. You can use cosmetic surgery to heighten your gender and reduce signs of aging by injecting a toxic poison in your face, but if you decide to use cosmetic surgery to confuse compulsory gender your sanity must be ascertained.

Tara Mateik is an artist and educator living in New York City. Entering both political and biological cells as an ersatz scientist, his work critically explores the gendered signifiers and codes of these fantastic mythologies through performance, video, and intervention. Mateik's writing and work has been published in Felix: A Journal of Media Arts and Culture, LTTR, a new queer feminist art journal and North Drive Press #2. Mateik graduated from Hampshire College in 1997 with a BA in Video and from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in 2004 with an MFA in Intergraded Electronic Arts. He is the founder of the Society of Biological Insurgents (SBI, pronounced \spi\) designed to overthrow institutions of compulsory gender.
Emmett Ramstad, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The work focuses on the transgender experience of surgery to create a whole, a scar to heal a wound, and an identity forming from natural and synthetic means. The desire for a body that feels more congruous with the wearers’ vision of themselves is connected to society’s desire for individuals with matching “gender” and “sex.”

Emmett Ramstad is a printmaker and installation artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Jay Sennett, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Phallocy is an autobiographical film using spoken word, music and experimental techniques to explore the struggles of a female-to-male transsexual. The double-exposed, sepia-toned footage creates the mood for the filmmaker's confrontation with living as a female-bodied man.

Sennett has over fifty published bylines, and multiple speaking engagements including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, DePaul University, the Mayor's Office of Chicago, Ann Arbor City Council, and keynoted at the True Spirit Conference 2001 and GenderQueer 2001: NW Transgender and Intersex Film and Video Festival. He is the first female-to-male transsexual to receive the prestigious Cultural Award, given by the Detroit Gay and Lesbian Pride and Community Service Awards committee.

Mirha Soleil-Ross, Montréal, Québec

The Pregnancy Project explores some transsexual women's relationship to the personal and institutional aspects of motherhood hoping to foster community discussion around controversial reproductive technologies.
Tremblement de Chair, a poetic meditation on the beauty, perils and power of sexuality in a transsexual woman's body.

Soleil-Ross’ videos have been screened at queer, women, trans and art festivals in Melbourne, Amsterdam, London, Dublin as well as other independent festivals across Canada and the U.S. Her show "Yapping Out Loud: Contagious Thoughts from an Unrepentant Whore" was produced as part of the 2004-05 Buddies in Bad Times Theatre season.

Sandy Stone, Austin, Texas

Trapped is a 17-inch functional Marquette. People who first encounter the figure during its rest phase describe their initial reaction as it begins to breathe as creepy and disturbing. “That is the experience I intend the piece to invoke.”
The theme of Simple Identity, a multi-media installation, is the multiple and vexing challenges of identity, authenticity, and voice, presented in the ironic mode. By not involving areas of the body that their presence might initially imply, the works deconstruct themselves.

Stone is Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin, Senior Artist at Banff Center, and Professor of New Media and Performance at the European Graduate School EGS. She wrote The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto, which is one of the foundational texts in Transgender Studies.

Linn Underhill, Lisle, New York

Glamorous portraits of artistic heroes like T.S. Eliot, Leo Stravinski, Tennessee Williams and Henri Cartier Bresson, during the ‘30s and ‘40s by George Platt Lynes, inspired NoMan’s Land. Men of stature being subjected to a homoerotic gaze become soft and sensual by Lynes’ use of light.

Underhill is an Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University, before which she received her MFA from the University at Buffalo (1982). She has been honored with the Light Work Grant (1995), NEA Visual Artists’ Fellowship (1984, 1990), and the NYFA Photographers’ Fellowship (1989).

Tobaron Waxman, Toronto, Ontario

Tobaron Waxman is a performance artist, specializing in digital media and voice. His work contextualizes gender, embodiment, and the physical experience of time as systems of inscription. His work includes elements of traditional Jewish texts and philosophy, as well as politics and desire. He uses technologies of photography and video, choreography, liturgy, Internet and performance to interrogate concepts of 'Gender', 'Conflict', 'Consent', 'Other', and 'Israel'.

He will be exhibiting a number of photographs from several projects including Amidah series. The title refers to the silent prayer performed thrice daily, an homage to the ancestors, an exercise in transcending the context of the group as a series of intimacies with the sacred, and a series of numerical groupings of metaphysical resonance. The images are also a meditation on the transgender experience of a man with a womb.

Waxman is the recipient of a Franklin Furnace Performance Art Award (funded by NYFA and the Jerome Foundation) and to date, three Canada Council for the Arts grants (2003,2005,2006). His videos and installations have been shown internationally including at Mix New York, Mix Brazil, Lesbian Film Festival in Berlin, Frameline Persistent Vision Conference in San Francisco, Flaming Film Festival at the Intermedia Arts Center of Minneapolis, CoCA in Seattle. He was invited artist at Toronto Alternative Art Fair International, 2005. He has been published in GLQ, LTTR, and FUSE magazine. He has been invited to conduct workshops and speak at such notable institutions as the School of Religious Studies, University of London, UC Irvine and Videotage Hong Kong. His work was recently published as one of the 200 best photobased artists in Canada in Carte Blanche, the first ever juried compendium of Canadian photography. Waxman also studies and performs Jewish liturgical music as a cantorial soloist.

aesthetocracy :  Michael Bosworth