[-empyre-] queer is everywhere

micha cárdenas mmcarden at usc.edu
Tue Jun 5 15:05:15 EST 2012

thanks for such a beaufitul first post margaret! and thanks for joining us
shu lea! i also have tried to teach BRANDON and am looking forward to it
being restored and fully functioning!

margaret, your post raises so many wonderful and interesting points, that i
just want to respond to a few. i love the phrase transmasculine diaspora,
and am so thrilled for you to bring up the intersections of diaspora and
queerness right away! i myself have been thinking through the significance
for me of my upbringing in miami among a constant mixture of latin american
and carribean cultures and how i can understand how that may influence my
own approach to poetics and art making, as my practice is certainly focused
on lots of layers of mixing, mixing genders, sexes, realities, races,
mixing as a means of breaking down simple unified notions of identity. as a
mixed race transgender person, i am constantly navigating and performing
multiple and at times simultaneous forms of passing, passing as white,
passing as latina, passing as female, not passing as female. i'm really
interested in how women of color feminism provided a language for these
kinds of intersections, like gloria anzaldua and audre lorde, but also in
how new work by people like Fatima El-Tayeb is developing new language for
second and third generation immigrants with ideas like translocal and

i recently was on a panel at ohio state university with Jian Chen and he
talked about his brilliant curation project NOISE which was at MIX NYC last
year and included a video i made with the electronic disturbance theater.
MIX NYC also has a new series of trans videos coming up about queer spatial
narratives that included an amazing video about palestine.


but the point you mentioned that BRANDON was the first new media artwork
commissioned by the Guggenheim raises a lot of what i've been thinking
about with regards to queer new media over the weekend, as well as your
point about my Autonets project. I read Claire Bishop's essay in Living as
Form this weekend where she talked about the divide between social practice
art and art more focused on the freedom of the individual artist to
experiment. I'm very interested in how queer new media may be a formulation
that is "unfashionable" in so many ways. Looking at the list of artists in
the LA Biennial I'm surprised that it seems to not include any performance
art. Has anyone seen it yet? Am I wrong? This makes me think of the general
conervativeness of so much of the art world regarding questions of genre,
form and material.

It seems like queer new media may be something that doesn't have a place in
much of the artworld because it may be perceived as participating in
outdated notions of identity politics and also because as new media it may
be unsellable or be anti-formal. Zach's work is interesting in this regard
because he produces such finely crafted objects, which seems rare for much
new media which is often immaterial or more messy. I'm interested in how
artists who are queer and sucessful in the contemporary art world like AL
Steiner and Wu Tsang (both of whose work i like a lot) are both not new
media artists. Yet much new media seems to not overlap with questions of
gender and sexuality (thinking here of people like cory arcangel).

I'm also hugely inspired by Shu Lea's work. I love the performative aspect
of her recent UKI viral pieces and I hope to see one of them soon! I also
know that Shu Lea has had a constant struggle to present work that is so
sexually explicit. I love how she continues to push those boundaries and
bring together so many brilliant ideas into pieces like UKI and IKU (which
I have taught in almost every class I've taught).

On Monday, June 4, 2012, Margaret Rhee wrote:

> Hi Shu Lea!
> Thank you so much for writing and hope you are having safe and beautiful
> travels! For you, I wanted to include a photograph of the tulips and rice
> paddies from the guest house I am staying at, in the countryside of Korea.
> :) It is wonderful to reconnect here, and really generative and inspiring
> to have your presence, and Zach and Micha's dialogue on queer media art
> and theory! I think its going to be a very inspiring month and look
> forward to the conversations.
> I hoped to teach BRANDON in the Queer Theory Activist Practices course I
> co-taught last Fall with Juana Maria Rodriguez at Berkeley. We had a one
> day segment on Queer New Media Art and Theory but since it was under
> restoration I was disappointed the students were not able to experience
> the artwork more fully. When I first began studying new media art with Ken
> Goldberg, I was blessed to learn about feminist and queer new media
> artworks as well, and BRANDON meant so much to me. It also helped me
> rethink not only new media art, but Brandon Teena's case and it was a
> meaningful way to honor Brandon's life. BRANDON also meant so much that it
> was the first new media artwork commissioned by the Guggenheim and I loved
> that, and loved reading about BRANDON in Mark Tribe's New Media Art.
> Looking back, I think it was really formative inspiring my interests in
> New Media art and continuing with classes when starting my graduate study.
> Hoping BRANDON will be available soon?  It is absolutely extraordinary. I
> was disappointed the students were not able to engage the work online, but
> glad they still were able to read about BRANDON and learn. For the class,
> we engaged with Micha and Zach's work and the It Gets Better youtube
> videos as well. The students were really excited about all the respective
> new media art work and since they are truly the twitter generation, it was
> really wonderful to see them get so animated, excited, and curious about
> the field.
> Thank you for being here, this is so very wonderful.
> Queer forever and everywhere,
> Margaret
> > hi, in transit... (literally)
> >
> > love to follow Micha and Zach's curating dialogue on queer media art
> > and theory.
> >
> > thanks, Margaret, for bring up BRANDON, which in fact is  currently
> > 'under restoration'
> > initiated by Guggenheim collection.
> >
> > queer everywhere queer forever....
> >
> > be reading you all
> > sl
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au <javascript:;>
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >

micha cárdenas
PhD Student, Media Arts and Practice, University of Southern California
Provost Fellow, University of Southern California

New Directions Scholar, USC Center for Feminist Research

MFA, Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego

Author, The Transreal: Political Aesthetics of Crossing Realities,

blog: http://transreal.org
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