Transpass round 1
All pads here (
will be transferred to
after the worksession
For who-is-who see also:
cisgender and cistrans as spatial concept
Decentralizing the Dominant Group (introduction to cis/trans discussion)
Not to be defined by a dominant group
labelling non-trans definition, beyond biology -- non-stable. Biology in flux
Cis = those who do not cross
cismontane - 'situated on this side of the mountains'
an imaginary border
cislunar : between the moon and the earth
cisatlantic: on this side of the atlantic ocean
cis as a continuity along the same lines
Chemistry: cis = having a pair of identical atoms
Alex would like to relate this idea to code & representation in digital systems: binary representation, logical conditionalism, if/then/else
first trans experience was transatlantic (crossing of (imaginary) borders)
sex = bio (between your legs)
gender = cultural - (between the ears)
[but it is not absolute. bodies morph]
On the appearance of the 'individual' passport.
individual passport a post-WWII invention.
The previous form was a 'family passport'
From greek speaking
last names are gendered: daughter of antanopoulos (patronymics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patronymic and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matronymic)
translation of surname in movement to Canada - turned into a neutral, uniform last name, Antonopoulos (son of) instead of Antonopolou (daughter of)
feeling detached from the last name
"the canadian government masculinized me" (neutral as a male)
name changes for women are expected "maiden name" and married name.
Several name changes, through marriage as well.
went through childbirth and divorce as a woman, later in life transitioned (in a 'very underground way'), taking a hormone that was intended for post-menopausal women, with the estrogen removed
naming parents' sex
there was no truth about myself: am I greek, am I Canadian, but the process required me to claim some truth about myself.
speaking many languages puzzles the definition of self
Alex's passport images over time:
Taking post-menopausal hormones: "can we lose the estrogen?"
In three months, I started to morph
my neck grew thicker, my shoulders grew wider, i got facial here
which brought the question: what's in your pants?
you see a person, and from other cues, you process a sex
Alex: 'what's in your pants is a projection, much like the spherical earth'
Kessler (from 'towards a theory of gender')
cultural genitals, others atribute this to a body — Kessler "people see you differently"
others attribute genitals to a body without seeing it
so, your body starts to morph and people start seeing you differently
i noticed that at borders i would start getting stopped
the whole idea of a passport is the face, the name and the sex, along with the signature
the face represents gender: we read facial here
the gender marker has to correspond to the face
anna could be a male name in greece
5-6 years into my transition i changed my name
i had been publishing as:
Anna Alexander, and could make the argument to change this to my legal name
Wanted to drop the ethnic marker
a number of steps: i became A. Alexander Antonopolous
but the F persisted
surgery was legally needed to go from F to M
started using dr. Antonopoulis -- sexist expectations of him being M
the rules changed, no more surgery required
you could claim gender change
however, all your papers had to be consistent, all the way back to birth certificate, citizenship papers and birth certificates of children
i had to change the birth certificate of my son: from the mother to father, loosing valuable connections and traces of history
my birth certificate has my greek gendered family name
and I changed my first name
so how do I prove I am the same person
cisgender norm: erase 'passages' and lock into cis norms
this would 'obliterate my transness'
Layers and borders.
i used my gender attribution to give me ids that were official: got a driver's license as an M (at the DMV the clerk saw him as male and put M)
got a temporary passport that was F
a driver's licence that said M
used drivers license to help get a permanent passport, despite the F on the termporary passport, the clerk didn't register it - "people don't see things that do not match"
i now have a permanent passport with M
i don't know what to do with my european passport
i have name changes, i don't have documents with respect to a legal sex or gender change
i don't know what to do and i don't know what problems are going to emerge
i need to renew my european passport
i am thinking of trying to pass as F
Does this mean i am a fraudulent identity?
"acts not identities"
Jose Munoz paraphrasing Foucault from 'The History of Sexuality'
"we can leave identities to the beaurocrats" - foucault
B. Preciado argues to go beyond Foucault, Alex thinks Foucault's ideas are still very important and relevant
Goldjian:your story makes me think of the story of refugees in europe
how to think solidarity, because path is difficult/complex. Lying is necessary.
everyone has to lie a bit and have their own ways
the context makes this as a kind of competition
it is not safe enough to share your story
everyone has to create a story of their life
Quotas. so, competition.
Is there solidarity amongst trans people when it comes to papers (problem of solidarity when you do not feel safe).
is there may be a competition between those who pass and don't pass
i also have two spirited friends (canadian native culture : embracing both genders), in the recent past they felt very lonely
now there is an emergence of two spirit identity
i don't know how it is with trans solidarity
it is a kind of competition
i was asked to identify as transgender or transsexual
if i said transsexual, and i was "in" (examples of knowing the right language/codes)
the pass-port to say that
but within the transsexual community there are the F2M and M2F
the transwoman wanted surgeries and insurance
the transmen didn't, they could pass
it is different for transmen and transwomen
there was tension around surgeries
we see this tension
everyone's body is a kind of technologized morphology
everything comes and in (hormones, pills etc.) and transforms our bodies
cis and trans stop being useful categories
empire: hardt and negri
their opening chapter on biopolitical production is about how we are all affected
we are all affected/effected
Alex: 'identity politics destroys possibility for collective action'
ref: gay/lesbian community being suspicious of bi-sexual people
passing or not ... and safety.
passing is so crucial in a normative system, but is also sometimes necessary where safety is an issue (lesbian communities' attitude towards bisexuals - 'are you in or out?')
this connection between papers and nature
blurring boundaries between human and other natures
i was at this transfeminist gathering
we are a decentralized living network
this is linked with the notion of trans-feminism
to think about inclusion
Inclusion not just a feminist agenda that is a feminin agenda
we look at queer reproduction
the queerization of ... figures
if queer is a space more than identity
queer as a temporality
queer is not a noun but a verb
to see the process of queerization
fractal gender (or quantum loops?) (e.g. https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2015/05/22/the-fractal-nature-of-the-gender-binary-or-blue-vs-turquoise/ )
inspired by fractional dimensions (from mathematics, also directly relates to cartography in mapping coastlines) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_dimension
- side note : fractal mapping, with multiple scale sharing the same space
i am curious about biometric passports has changed the recognition of passing
and the data that would be recorded changes the emphasis on gender
would this free the bodies from filling the M/F question? or the opposite?
body scanners at airports
see funambilist mag -- bathrooms. Safety. are you more safe with people of "your" own gender?
queer as a space, not an identity
and also as time
it is a desired a queer space, not imposed
i like this idea of the queer space
we can breathe a little bit in this space, relax
'resting in queer space' as the end of the fight? (the 'trans era' as the end?)
everything queer [Judith Butler in Brazil?]
Laissez-passer - refugee transport document
PASSEPORT DIPLOMATIQUE DE L'AMBASSADE UNIVERSELLE - https://web.archive.org/web/20020605140309/http://universal-embassy.be - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-recto.jpg - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-verso.jpg
Elvira: historic record is kept in the birth certificate, in cases when a country of birth has dissolved, and a country gets a new name, why couldn't this historic/time record also exist for trans people, recording the timeline
Alex: 'some people WANT that tabula rasa -- I have no past! But I feel like I'm saying 'un-trans' things when I say I want to keep my past.'
Elias: who has access to what -- "as someone who does not pass". I don't want everyone have access to the passing, all the time. 'put no gender on my passport'
Alex: 'we can't control access to information so well' 'who has access is what we'd like to control' (e.g. WHO can see the history of passage)
Ben: 'passport generated on a per country basis' Iran is anti-gay but pro-trans: you decide what is rendered on the passport depending on the country
Femke: 'how did gender enter on to the passport?'
sex assignment gaining importance? when?
you need to count for attributes, so that you can hold certain kinds of statistics, like rape of women.
why base statistics on information that is not always right?
from now on the church of sweden will use gender neutral pronouns for god: they couldn't prove otherwise
"why is it that in so many other cultures the complexity of sex and gender was understood, where does it become so strong in the west?"
ex. Hijra's in India, 'Two-Spirit' People in North America,
Alex points to Foucault, who identified the scientific tradition's focus on epistemology - "truth is not a function of pleasure" (foucault, again)
ars erotica (focused on pleasure) & ars scientia (focused on knowledge - looking for truth)
i wonder how much is this about western conceptions of space?
the public/private division
how much architecture and the confugration of space and what t
Jasbir Puar on Homonationalism
"In "Queer Times, Queer Assemblages", published in 2005, Puar analyzes the War on Terror as an assemblage of racism, nationalism, patriotism, and terrorism, suggesting that it is "already profoundly queer".
...She also rearticulates the body of the suicide bomber as "a queer assemblage that resists queerness-as-sexual-identity", a force with the power to converge, implode, and rearrange time, space, and body.
In this pathbreaking work, Jasbir K. Puar argues that configurations of sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are realigning in relation to contemporary forces of securitization, counterterrorism, and nationalism. She examines how liberal politics incorporate certain queer subjects into the fold of the nation-state, through developments including the legal recognition inherent in the overturning of anti-sodomy laws and the proliferation of more mainstream representation. These incorporations have shifted many queers from their construction as figures of death (via the AIDS epidemic) to subjects tied to ideas of life and productivity (gay marriage and reproductive kinship). Puar contends, however, that this tenuous inclusion of some queer subjects depends on the production of populations of Orientalized terrorist bodies. Heteronormative ideologies that the U.S. nation-state has long relied on are now accompanied by homonormative ideologies that replicate narrow racial, class, gender, and national ideals. These “homonationalisms” are deployed to distinguish upright “properly hetero,” and now “properly homo,” U.S. patriots from perversely sexualized and racialized terrorist look-a-likes—especially Sikhs, Muslims, and Arabs—who are cordoned off for detention and deportation.
[the body as a passport -- Simone's irisscan 'solution' -- securitization, counterterrorism]
the politics of post-gender?
war on terror and the argument of support for gay marriage
terrorist as a queer body - queerness and the space of death
taking white queers into the war on terror
certain norms of productivity (white, making money, marriage)
exiling non-productive queers - they can die
ref to destroying possibility of collective action -- to open up space for this
shamanic practices in response to identities and bodies... connection and living with others earth-livings : plants, animals, insects, elements ...
organization international intersex
Vincent Guillot in france, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organisation_Intersex_International
if we look at empire that is built on colonization, capitalism etc.
as trans or cis people, the trans people are bringing in this ability to identify the rest as cis
can surface the capitalization of our bodies and subjectivities is produced and reproduced
this is also where we have a lot less control over our passports
the body as a passport
when we pass, our bodies become our passports
the legal document and the body are both controlled
Ben: 'what is the idea of a fraudulent identity?'
the next challenge is in getting his European passport, 'will I succumb? or do I continue to resist?'
'seven sexes identified by science' - today we've added a new layer: the layer of identity papers. you don't need surgeries, but all your identity papers need to match. now they control us through our papers, it's a paper identity (the point of normativity). standardization of one's history. 'body on paper, signified by masculine name, gender marker, facial appearance'
can you unpack what is a fraudulent identity?
i can be stopped
to be a true identity, in our day and age of surveillance implies a consistency
it is a normalized identity
a consistency across time and that is reflected in a whole series of documents
it is like the 7 variables of sex
hormones, chromosomes, internal reproductive organs, gonads, sex assignment, pyschological sex
once they had the 7, instead of 2
they all had to line up
now we have surgeries, to fix that which didn't line up
with women who were too masculine etc.
any deviation across that line had to be fixed
and now we have a new layer, it is the layer of the identity papers
that is the new norm
all the identity papers match, we don't care what is in your pants
now it is a paper identity
if all my papers don't match, any one of them is fraudulent
it is this normalization and standardization of history
the history thatnew materialism, butler and barad talk about
now it is not about bodily inscriptions but the materiality of my paper work
my historical body has been transmuted into my paper body
which is signified by my name, by my gender marker and my facial appearance
'biopolitics' - deciding who can live and who can die - how does this link to queerness?
Alex: 'the body is our passport, and is entangled in similar legal entangledments'
testo junkie translated in English = missing many points
Alex's approach ... 'inventing pathways' 'working the body against the document'
Seda: data systems are moving away from looking at metrics and instead looking at behaviors and actions, people developing these algorithms are disconnected with the reality and continue to perpetuate norms within the algorithms themselves.
Alex feels disconnected / does not understand the algorithmic -- but most of the group contends that his metaphor of the 'body on paper' is really not so far from what is going on in 'information age power' ... 'society of control'
if you don't have the code, or the key to the code (the passkey). Alex doesn't know where his information is being used and veiwed now - it makes him scared about where he steps
digital multy identities vs administrative paper
surveilling on movement ...
system are developed outside of cfitical discourse
alien/zeno fluidgenders algorythmic representations
disciplined and controlled individual bodes described by foucault
that deleuze wants to say that we have outgrown: the society of control
we have digitalized
and we have an encoding of data,
the watchword: for the disciplinary society
the password: for the ... society
if you don't have the password, you are left out of a dimension that you do not mention
hackers that can break the code: i am hacking on the basis of my body and passport as the code
i pass because i am coded and decoded in a way
with these new systems i am excluded
i don't know what they all know and how much the different bodies know about each other!!!
a trans men in a prison
i say the trans era, and that is the celebrities, white, educated
necropolitics: those who don't match, who are thrown into the prisons
where do we put you
what happens in prisons is already pretty frightening
i get scared about the sort of measures i am taking into places that i don't quite understand
i have access to with my body
i would love to get trained
and martial arts may not help in these situations
training to fit bodies in spaces where they don't belong
it can scare you
the migration project
the project that piere was mentioning yesterday
with the coordinator of the project that was trying to creat this machine that target people at the borders
robots that try to identify tresspassing, identify a threat, run a risk analysis
compared to specific norms that pile up the risks
what do we define as a risk
is trans person a risk
all of these questions are popping up
talking about the digital monster
that is being built already
what was interesting in the project that iwas looking at was that they tried to create a body for this monster
to have a meeting with the person
a robot that would
moving to an affective dimension : how scary it can be to take risks on this legal level
Alex: 'I have a high tolerance to risk, but I may have to raise my tolerance - leading to a higher degree of discomfort' / what is risk and comfort, what is stability anyway?
does this risk-taking capacity need to be balanced by more nuturance? (families, intellectual/philosophical understanding)
How does nurturing help balance the willingness/ability to take risk?
constraint is a factor,
in the name of 'stability'
Sara Ahmed - direction/directionality instead of identity. identity is a very constraining thing, similar to family: the price you pay for stability, direction is an affective replacement for identity.
"If orientation is a matter of how we reside in space, then sexual orientation might also be a matter of residence; of how we inhabit spaces as well as “who” or “what” we inhabit spaces with” (p. 1) "
Alex's experience is
of existening in boxes - 'I speak this language to this person / this language to this other person' difficulty integrating these boxes into a stable identity. "identity is good for papers / maybe good for algorithms" but identity is problematic for affective dimensions...
who am i outside of the boxes of constraint ..
orientation / direction is more apt related to affinity
Is his pen name fraudulent?
the conception of fraudulence only makes sense in a legal context, it's a legal term. 'we have a place for pen names'
are there other places in culture/society/legal structures for aliases? Like the pen name?
facebook user terms & conditions actually mandates you use your real name, they can legally ask you to prove id documents: you're allowed to be a 'public persona' or 'fictional character'
Seda: 'obfuscation as a form of resistance' / adding noise to a system in order to obfuscate
Jason Scott: villiagers in a colonialized space that are doing foot dragging
Susan Striker: assuming there is a 'true way of using a system' we are creating noise, but we are very noisy beings...
have you read the book fakebook?
Obfuscation (good intro book to the subject) --> https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/obfuscation
Stuart Hall's 'Reception Theory' https://faculty.georgetown.edu/irvinem/theory/SH-Encoding-Decoding.pdf
Ben: problems in GIS locating usually resolve to an imagination location 'NULL ISLAND'
Workshops on obfuscation:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Experts of Exile - round 1
notes of the meeting 10:30 - 11:30
work on language with local people
Choose one word from the lexique that has an impact on you.
Lexicon of displacement by displaced. In the workshops with the students, one exercise was to think together of the grouping of words; those are the categories that emerge in the Lexicon.
5 categories / semantic fields :
- watch / observe
- change / modify
- move / displace
- expose / share / participate / mold
- Ask / questions / messages
- the body and body changes
body as a point of change
what is the change in your body that takes place for a migrant ?
- body language ?
when you are in a certain country, you can act in a certain way : it can change when you move in another country
- Relation between body and language:
for example in sweden you never interact with people by touching them
in italy you touch each other a lot, felt very strange in the beginning not to do that in Belgium
About that subject :
- public spaces:
> the park
in public space you find back a lot of things, in Italy you live much more in the street
in italy people live in the common space much more than in brussels except in parcs
But now parcs took a different connotation because of exiled people
change in the use of public space
notion of camping is different
- a place for children
- place that makes me forget the bills -> safe space, like the church
cfr film The Square
people understand words differently
I had reverse sensation of public space, arriving in St-Gilles (maroccan, brazilian, turkish, italian, spanish...)
I did not understand how to use the space during the day & at night
From Metz east of France, spent time in Luxemburg, Germany, was expecting that Brussels was like that
Brussels = in between things I know
- meaning of the words:
they are changing depending on life you have
-> what is word for someone?
-> what is the meaning of word if you don't come from the same background
-> try to find most different defnitions of a word, how far can we push a word
Mother is from the West-Indies -> no stories about this
Father had to move during the world -> grandmother told a lot of stories with bitterment
concerning papers: you had to prove that you were French because of the occupation, father had to do it, it is very humiliating
- both were talking about the body: starving, have to eat things you don't want to eat, no shelter
- you experience cold: my mother had a pullover, but she could not imagine how cold (snow), for a long time she could not wear socks, she was always barefoot/open shoes
- suffering from Germans + perceived as German
- 'being torn apart': they were and I am still torn apart, as if you have to choose sides, you cannot be at two places at the same time, you have to choose somehow
- -> feeling guilty that I'm not there, when I go there I find it difficult to go away, when i say 'home' it is not Brussels, but family house in east of France
- body changes:
change of food is something interesting and weird
what kind of bread you eat
fruits & vegetables: they cannot recognize the taste, it is lacking sun
> taste changes
it changes the body: they have a lot of health problems
it doesn't mean the same
not sure if you can forget having slept in the park
'now the children can play again'
because they cleaned the park
as place of comfort and safety
they like the architecture
-> activists use the church to to bring migrants
-> history of the church as a 'shelter'
also esplanade of the museum & libraries: it is quite, no one talks & it is warm
Does religious places (mosquee / churches) represent safe places in common imagination?
Facination for architecture, quietness
often in history starting point for revolution/gatherings there, but it is not this
not religion either
- closeness = agressiveness
living in Isreal for 5 years
- -> depend on your reference ?
I had become very agressive (brother came after 3y)
you needed to be that, because I did not have my own safe space
problems to get a permit (even if I was married to israeli)
every 6 months renewal, I could work but did not pay axes - I was not in the system
'you want everything? turn into judaism'
- the sea
It is wide open, calm, point of decompression
there is not a lot of churches, mosques, synagogues - were not welcoming
religious place are not welcoming, i am a woman and not mulslim
nobody excuses, even when people hit into eachother in the bus
- rules of the game
you perceive system/structure as artifical setting in which many elements have to be placed in order to work
the longer you live somewhere the stronger the links
-> people claim property over rules of game
subjectivity of the stories make for less generalization of the legenda
flexible in absorbing stories, stay coherent
cfr workshop: think of schematization/cartography in wide sense of the word
connected to subjective stories
it is a safe space
transfer money, call family everyday
changed a lot from previous migrations
-> you needed to make an appointment, writing letters
people from Ethiopia (no electricity/wifi), super attached to Skype (not email)
in Calais very bad network (on purpose), we all had UK numbers
a group in UK sending credit for data for phone
also for buses
- displacement in structure of language
'à Bruxelles il peure beaucoup'
also with grammar: words in French have gender, why is this male/female?
when you already have structures in the language/your mother tongue
> nationality / no nationality
I moved a lot as a child, I don't have the feeling that I have a home, I feel home where I am
feels good to not have a nationality, my nationality is negotiable
-> image of the bridge
> roots to feel from somewhere
use of smartphone because they have roots in other country
that is why they need safe space, safe objects, calmness
even an animal cannot cross a border freely today
few are speaking about the road they took
it can construct your identity, maybe identity changes on the way
change of landscape
'i lost my sunset'
we speak a lot about family, people, but it is also important the dimension of landscape
sensorial impressions / connection to your body
- political dimension of presence/absence of body in space
in parks & church
2 weeks ago in marseille: occupation of church, minors isolated in the street
in France state has provide space for any minor when they are alone in street
they chose chruch at Vieux Port, very central
autonomous in their choices / helped by a lot of people
because of tradition of asylum in churches, but churches belong to the state, they can easily remove them from church
negocation with priiest / cardinal to stay a few days, proposed to go to more comfortable but less visible place
they refused, priest accepted, lots of negociation & dignity in leaving
-> support group & autonomy
[from the discussion downstairs] PASSEPORT DIPLOMATIQUE DE L'AMBASSADE UNIVERSELLE - https://web.archive.org/web/20020605140309/http://universal-embassy.be - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-recto.jpg - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-verso.jpg
Ambassade universelle in Brussels, I am asked to organise an oral history project around this
PASSEPORT DIPLOMATIQUE DE L'AMBASSADE UNIVERSELLE - https://web.archive.org/web/20020605140309/http://universal-embassy.be - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-recto.jpg - http://transmarcations.constantvzw.org/images/universal-embassy-card-verso.jpg
it became 'art', interest by museums (and artists)
group was confident enough to be able to say what they wanted or not, because they were well supported
lexicon based on experience of people who lived
incapacitating of people with lived experience, because of language.
"migrants are poor and not educated"
was not always like that
ex Latin American migrants, were heroes, escaped dictatorship
video project to recall story of migrants - qx1.org http://qx1.org/
aim to share their stories with other migrants, tell how it is in countries they crossed
network of volunteers translates to other languages
qx1 = code for boats for landing
- state of mind
because of weird choices, art projects I traveled a lot in unusual contexts (folding line on a map by bike, small boat through Europe)
Being fold project :
Small solar boat :
Ireland, 2 weeks of rain
mind changed: looking for dry spot asap, less friendly to people hosting us
your priorities shift, less polite
you start to bend the rules: I have to look clean for those people, you start behaving as a fox
I am an easy migrant
you keep something from those experiences
Belgrade, project online
refugees sleeping in train station
she developed dictionary to communicate with them
things that matter in a particular place in a particular moment
shift/transformation from not wanted to expert
living in other countries is a mindshift
changes in body
- language versus code
you can know the languages and how to express yourself but it doesn't mean you get the code of the community where you live
language is different than having the "code"
other communication, sensorial.
things disturbing in one context (olive oil!) become triggers in another
feeling the world in the British Museum :-D
the body is cultural, not only biological [see above!]
context is key
Medicins du Monde, Calais
psychiator not feeling safe, asked for help
guy seemed normal to her, Sudanese
he was just too romantic
translating culture, mentality, relations men/women
started organising workshops
medecins du monde did not want to interact through (real) coffee
language in calais
we don't know where the words come from
ex 'dogar' : trafic jam
ex. 'habas': police (is a person's name)
it is very hopeful, you can create your own language
we all felt hopeful even guilty to have hope in such a horrible place
I felt more safer iN Calais than in Roubaix where I was living in France (agressed by people in the street)
safe space of parents (island of Iran/Azerbeidjan) was not 'cool' for me
Satellite tv/internet, they connected even more
wash cloths in same lavomatic as guys of a foyer, one became a friend
not fitting any pre-established framework in terms of human relationships
obvious things have to be learned
we had language in common
words as boundary/border: produces connections & separations
need to have a word for 'cis', spatial word, comes from mapping
-> situated at this side of the mountain/river