This mixed-media performance, entitled “Gender Dropout,” is a weekly piece that combines live performance with a still photography documentary series. It is shot by one different person per performance, and edited by myself.
Within the space of fifteen minutes, I ask a photographer, chosen beforehand, to direct or position me in five positions or roles that reflect my gender. The photographer does not have to be a professional—they just have to be comfortable using the camera within that space of time, and communicating with me while doing so. For the first position, I am clothed. For the final four, I am nude.
The positions correspond to how I see myself, or how the photographer sees me. The audience is encouraged to participate and join in the direction, provided that it does not stray off topic. Within that time, we hope to glean new ideas about how an individual’s identity rests on a spectrum, rather than two binary points.
This piece was first performed at Performance Anxiety. I avoid the word “intimate,” but it is a transparent performance, in that I remain honest to the photographer and audience while respecting their requests. There are no materials required other than a working camera.
I intend the project to be both useful to myself as an individual artist; as well as a tool for discussion among the variety of people who choose to observe and/or participate verbally. It is an exploration of the identity I present—male-bodied while identifying as non-binary. And it is a study of the socially prescribed ideas on gender that manifest within a given space of time.