Body in progress :: Sound Piece

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23 Art and Genders

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I am fascinated by moments when we experience the discomfort of tension and ambiguity - this often occurs upon the meeting of a person whose body and gender we cannot clearly define. How do we interact with a body that does not offer apparent gender cues, leaving us unable to determine its age and sex? How do we respond to a voice that does not register as either male or female? How do we navigate relationships when they are clouded in ambivalence? How do we make sense of experiences that fall outside the gender dichotomy?

Body in progress 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 by Elie Darling

This piece interrogates the tense boundaries between bodies in different states of transition. I started to record audio files of my voice when I started hormonal therapy two years ago in order to track its progress and document my physical transition from female to male. These recordings offer a dramatic contrast between my pre-testosterone voice range, the awkward and not always clear-cut pitch of my vocal tone a few months into hormonal transition, and its unmistakably male timbre after two years of testosterone injections.

I have chosen to document my physical transition to bear witness and to ward off fear, and demonstrate how uncertain stages of transition can evolve into moments of fluidity. I do not intend to create in order to represent the entirety of trans communities - rather, I am simply seeking to express my own personal experiences. In doing so, I can come to terms with my predicament, define myself in my own terms and challenge notions of the pathologized trans body.

Elie Darling is a multimedia artist, translator, activist, and medical wonder living in Montreal, Quebec. His work focuses on transsexual and queer bodies, particularly in relation to their pathologization by the medical industry at large and the abusive control exerted over them by different government bodies and bureaucracies. His passion lies in art as activism and art making as a way of fostering community. He is currently involved in a constitutional challenge against the government of Quebec in order to legally be considered male without undergoing forced surgical sterilization.