An imaginary garden with real toads in them
3D collage / photograhy
Print on adesive vynil and ultra smooth Hahnemühle, dimension variable + laser paper for writing elements Book, 20x25cm, 60 pages, self-edited
An imaginary garden with real toads in them is a photography project that examines transness and dysphoria through the scope of (remote) interspecies relationships.
The title refers to the poetry of late modernist poet Marianne Moore and her particular stance about her refusal of dominance over another one’s body (human or non-human).
The human torso is a mythologised, politicised and gendered part of the body. Societal struggles play out from the human torso as focal point and metaphorical battle ground, over issues such as sexualisation, breastfeeding, ideals of the ‘right’ kind of torso to fit a binary gendered system, representation of post-op bodies, and much more.
At the start of the project is the shape of my chest – and the dysphoria of it–, a lie detector device that was “plugged” onto a chest, and the “chest burster” scene in Alien, which is for me, the first AMAB’s and interspecies birth scene I’ve seen in cinema.
The pneumograph of Verdin, a maker in Paris, is an early 20th century chest device that measures irregularities in breathing. The device was first described in a bill entitled Man and abnormal man (1905) by Arthur MacDonald - a report measuring default and 'abnormal' bodies, establishing the first steps towards the place of body signal sensors within the realm of law enforcement, marking the beginning of the legacy of the history of the lie detector.
This is a history deeply intertwined with bias against LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC, surreptitiously with the creation of the 'default body' as the valid referent for body signals measurement, but also more explicitly with the development of devices such as the 'fruit machine', a device developed in the 1950s that was supposed to be able to identify gay men (derogatorily referred to as 'fruits'), and many others.
Throughout the series, there is a leitmotif of chest imagery. Mixing images of my torso with non-human elements allows me to reclaim and transform dysphoria and explore notions of “becoming with–”.
The title refers to the poetry of late modernist poet Marianne Moore and her particular stance towards interspecies relationship. Her poetry maintains a sense of keeping things alive by a refusal of dominance over another one’s body –human and non-human–, “a right to opacity”*, a remote interspecies relationship. A stance that I’ve tried to emote.
An imaginary garden with real toads in them gives form to my continuously evolving realm of gender fluidity, occupying a transness that refuses pathologization. My use of 3D imagery, virtual fur, 3D collage and other imagined animalistic shapes is similarly speculative, allowing for a state of undying and future potential existence.