Otherness Archive: the forgotten archives of the trans masc experience
Tuesday, 18 January 2022
Image: Boys in the Backyard, Annette Kennerley, 1998
"The Otherness Archive defies the historic censorship of homosexual, trans and racial themes, and instead highlights them as representations of otherness that deserve equal, if not greater, recognition. Otherness acts as a route into complex narratives and subjectivities that make for richer cinema. Our guest curation with the London Short Film Festival focuses on the forgotten archives of the trans masc experience.
We found that while digging for material in the archives that there was a lack of trans masc films, video art and general moving image work. Not only does the trans masc experience exist outside of traditional cinema, but also in home movies and erotica from earlier eras. Has the trans person been merely forgotten or intentionally erased due to prejudices or were those in position of power to preserve such work unable to spot otherness? Perhaps this forgotten archive can be explained partially by trans masc moving image works being misclassified under the lesbian or sapphic genre, due in part to the little terminology that was available at the time. In this program we choose to center the varied and intimate masculinities of authentic trans experience in film now.
The majority of films centering trans masculinities are erotic leading to the programme being presented as two halves; one looking at the trans masc experience in documentary and art house films, and the other dedicated to the erotic. Staying true to the ethos of Otherness Archive, our screenings and workshops are a place for those who understand and want to celebrate otherness.
There is no structure and most of it is peer lead. We are excited to provide works that might not be accessible to the public due to linguistic, financial and institutional barriers. We are relatively new, and thus are experimenting with DIY methods of watching and hearing cinema, and of understanding those who create it."
Ren Mars Ren Mars (he/they) is a Caymanian photographer, model, and activist based in London. @angelfvther
Sweatmother filmmaker and curator of Otherness Archive @sweatmother
Izzy Kroese is an artist, writer and curator based in Manchester, UK. @transmascstudies
The Man From Venus
Experimental confessional narrative reflecting the urban isolation and confusion of a young First Nations trans man, Man from Venus is a kaleidoscopic, black and white Super 8-to-video centering on Diamond's own trans body and its position in society. Using a voice-over that is never truly in synch with the rhythm of his own body, the filmmaker runs and escapes from the look of passers-by on the street but can never hide from the confusion and the anxiety, underscored by the dysjuncture of voice-over and image.
Part documentary, part pornography, Mes Chéris is a transboi’s farewell to his boobs. One month before his mastectomy, Jamal Phoenix takes on the role of Chéri, a character modeled after his experiences as a Fierce Fem sex worker. This raunchy tribute subverts straight porn tropes and mainstream trans* representation in a radical act of self-love.