Saturday, June 1, 2019
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund
Chase Joynt and Chris E. Vargas are multi-media artists working at the epicenter of contemporary trans representational practice and visual cultural production. “Trans Archival Futures” is a presentation of their recent film and archival work: Vargas’ project MOTHA: Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (ongoing) and Joynt’s short film Framing Agnes (2018). The projects each interrogate the role of archives in this pivotal cultural moment wherein transgender issues are being foregrounded in the media, yet competing narratives about community histories and struggles for social change are so often ignored or manipulated by the mainstream. Vargas’ MOTHA asks gallery and screening publics to think critically about the construction and promotion of a consistent transgender visual history through the manipulation of familiar contemporary arts institutionalization and museum practices. Joynt’s Framing Agnes utilizes the now-canonical case study of “Agnes” in sociology as a springboard to question the legacy and impact of exemplary cases and medical research on the lives of trans and gender non-conforming people. As trans artists who mobilize hybrid methods of aesthetic inquiry that strategically cross artistic, activist, and academic lines, Joynt and Vargas together call attention to the impact of archives and archival practices in the production of both historical pasts and aesthetic futures.
- Chase Joynt, Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Chicago
- Chris Vargas, Executive Director, MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art