I am looking to interview more transgender people across the UK for my next art project. Details are below, but if you need any more information please do not hesitate to reach out. Please share this with anyone who you think might be interested!
“Cis Penance” aims to use videogame-like installations to draw attention to issues affecting transgender people in the UK, with a particular focus on how institutional and social structures alter our relationship to time and our life paths, through lengthy waiting processes. Interviews with 60 transgender people from around the UK will be represented as interactive text, projected onto a long, embroidered e-textile portraying people waiting in a queue. Kind of a queer cybertwee Bayeux tapestry. Anyone interested in being interviewed is welcome to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
This project builds on my previous work, “Interactive portraits: trans people in Japan 2018“, which has toured exhibitions and festivals, including Docfest, Now Play This, and the Rainbow Arcade exhibition at the Schwules Museum in Berlin. Whereas that project featured 12 interviews carried out in Japan, this new project aims to incorporate 60 interviews carried out in different locations in the UK.
The format I use makes anonymity very easy to achieve, as I do not use interview audio in the final piece and I do not record video footage. Interviewees’ physical appearances will not be portrayed in the installation piece, instead represented by one of 60 abstract embroidered figures. Interviewees can choose to use their real name, an existing pseudonym that they might use online, or a randomly-assigned pseudonym. My interview method focuses on allowing participants to set the agenda, to reflect the kinds of topics that actually come out in conversations between trans people, rather than directing the conversation to serve cisgender curiosity.
Interviews will last about 45 minutes. I aim to carry them out in person where possible, but Skype interviews will be carried out when travel is not feasible. They will be recorded as audio only, and transcribed into text extracts for the interactive work. Audio recordings will not be used in the final installation piece, but interviewees can opt in to allowing the audio to be used in accompanying multimedia materials. The recordings might be archived in a museum or library collection at some point, to preserve them for the historical record.
Interviewees are welcome to participate without talking about their transition. I use an open-ended format that gives the interviewee autonomy over the topics of discussion, but questions I might ask to help things along could include:
- How do you see yourself?
- What brings you satisfaction in life?
- What aspects of your life would you like to be different?
- What challenges do you face in making this happen?
- How have things changed for you in the past few years?
Dates and contact
I hope to complete most interviews by 15th March 2020. (Update July 2020) Most interviews have been done, but I am still trying to get a few more. I’ve been doing more interviews with BAME people lately, and I’m keen to continue to make sure this project reflects the concerns and needs of intersectionally marginalised trans people. If you are interested in participating, please contact me at email@example.com.