Accepted Paper:

Experiments in living: the value of indeterminacy in trans art  

Author:

Elena Gonzalez-Polledo (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers how London-based trans artists imagine art as coextensive with open-ended embodiment, identity and sociality. Conceptualising indeterminacy in arts practice, the paper explores the affordances of imagination to make worlds and the difficulties of thinking with difference.

Paper long abstract:

This paper considers how London-based transgender artists imagine art as a practice coextensive with open-ended forms of embodiment, identity and sociality. Living between and across gender binaries, these artists defy conventional artistic regimes of value while using art practice as a way of knowing otherwise. They draw on experimentation, abstraction and composition to transform conditions of living, engaging in arts practice as an alternative, open-ended and ethical form of life. Trans artists invite us to think of arts practices and materials as unfinished interfaces that reframe identities, bodies and politics by redrawing relations between material and propositional worlds. This paper takes their invitation to think through ontology through and against the value of indeterminacy in arts practice, exploring art making as a site of difference through historical and ethnographic analysis. Drawing out a theoretical conceptualisation of the role of indeterminacy, the paper explores the affordances of imagination to make worlds, yet also on the difficulties of thinking with difference against pervasive forms of discrimination that center idioms of identity, as well as the binaries that structure the conditions of possibility of 'trans' life. The vitalities and relations implicated in artistic practice as an experiment in living, I argue, draw out the significance of ontology as a site of (self) determination, yet point out to ways in which arts practice implicates indeterminacy as a core feature of the process of living.

Panel P027
Materialising the Imagination: How People Make Ideas Manifest