Euthanising the Archive

In my ongoing attempts to comprehend why transgender bodies provoke special attention (ranging from slightly prolonged stares to transphobic murder), I think there might be some merit to the idea that trans bodies elicit ideas about death that are frighteningly familiar to all. Bodily transition is human in the sense that we all grow, we all get sick, we all endure a puberty and will all have a death. But the particularity of a transgender state of physical transition is that it is a conscious, deliberate, accelerated transition that is commonly perceived as destructive. Something in you has to die, doesn’t it? And isn’t killing yourself pathological?


Image: Narimane Mari (Director), still from Le Fort des Fous (Fort of the Mad), 2017, digital video,140 mins. Courtesy of the artist.

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Archie Barry is an artist and writer currently based in Narrm (Melbourne). They work primarily with performance and video.