Performance, 2023
Presented at HAU Berlin and Eleusis Biennial

Using the figure of the baroque Castrati as the starting point, the performance speculates on the embodied histories of flamboyance, on the technologies of beauty and the early beginnings of what we now call “star quality”. Obsessed with using her trans femininity as a tool to unearth hidden histories, the performer goes on to contemplate and make associations as a pleasurable practice, understanding that if for her the time of reproduction is denied, then history and culture hold the seeds of her ancestrality. It is up to her, as a trans embodied being, to learn how to read the maps the past has left encrypted into historical reality.

“Much like the dandy, the castrato is a kind of object, but an object that is a musical instrument. Both are imbued with affectation and both have the structures of their time inscribed on their bodies. However, there is something more tragic about the castrato. The hypnosis he generates, the way he seduces on stage (and offstage) brings him back to the body. It's a sort of hypnosis of the wound, of a cut that creates an aura, a special power. Not only is his voice the object, but his body becomes a place of mystery. It's a body seen as superficial, only capable of provoking superficial pleasures, a half-body. And this fascination with the incompleteness of something and with ambiguity is also a broader fascination that Western humanity has had with androgyny. Not only androgyny as the elevation of matter, for the alchemists (meaning alchemical hermaphroditism), but androgyny as an inherent quality of the pop star - Prince? David Bowie? K-pop idols? And it’s no coincidence that in 1641, the castrato Pasqualini entered one of the major festivities in Rome dressed as the personification of Fame.”