Gender: is it an identity or a meta-category?
Innate or learned? Binary or infinite?
Modern or outdated? Necessary or not?
No matter what one holds as true, each individual in society must reckon with their own and others’ conceptions of what gender is and how to express it. And this imperative is never static: how does one negotiate across the various perceptions of others and self with one’s own contextualization of gender? How is this negotiation framed in culture(s), intergenerational relationships, family structures, religious experiences, bureaucratic and institutional settings, with medical professionals, or amongst friends, strangers, and colleagues? In short, how does one exist within (or perhaps outside) the bounds of an ascribed “gender?”
This two-evening event brings together a variety of performance artists from diverse experiences – all from different backgrounds but all reckoning with the concept of “gender.” Drawing on their experience curating the series Yes/No/Other/All: Performance on the Boundaries of Identity, artist and organizer Darling Fitch will bring artists together to express their own individual theoretical conceptions of identity, to present a multi-faceted view of what gender does, or could, mean.
Central to the event will be the final two performances of Fitch’s own year-long performance project, ‘A Stranger Sound’.
From the official description:
Arising from the cesspool of Berlin’s queer party scene, A Stranger Sound is a dark yet ultimately affirming transgender coming-of-age story. A Stranger Sound is a full length live show combining music, spoken word, and performance art to take the audience on a journey through “gender dysphoria and chemical ecstasy // chemical dysphoria and gender ecstasy… And glamour as a survival strategy.” The show examines many elements of queer space: community, self-discovery, safety… But also addiction, escapism, narcissism, abuse, and self-harm. It is an honest account of the spaces we call home.
With performances planned over the span of performer Darling Fitch’s first year of testosterone therapy, vocal drops and physical changes will be evident from performance to performance, particularly through the juxtaposition of live and pre-recorded vocals. In this way, A Stranger Sound tells an ongoing story, and physically as well as thematically reveals the ever-changing nature of life.
The goal of the evenings is to make audiences aware of a multiplicity of ideas regarding gender and its expression, and to encourage them to engage with, examine, or expand upon their own internal beliefs and ideas about the concept and execution of gender.
Ser Gina (Elly Clarke)
Lady Gaby Bila-Gunther
Emeka Ene and Katie Dunbar
Nisha Bhakoo, Cassie Jiun Seo and Iza Buleczka
A Stranger Sound