'Out of Time: Anohni and transgendered/trans age transgression'

Gardner, Abigail S (2017) 'Out of Time: Anohni and transgendered/trans age transgression'. In: Holland, S. & Spracklen, K. (eds.)(2018) Alternativity and Marginalisation: Essays on Subcultures, Bodies and Spaces. Emerald Publishing, Bingley. (In Press)

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Abstract

The 82-year-old Black Avant-garde artist Lorraine O’Grady stares out of a black screen, she is unclothed bar a pair of silver earrings and choker; her mouth is painted a bright vermilion red. She lip-synchs to Anohni’s single ‘Marrow’ taken from the 2016 album Hopelessness. This ageing Black female artist is Anohni’s avatar, the image that represents her within a popular audio-visual culture, circulating on YouTube. Anohni is a transgender musician whose recent 2016 and 2017 musical work and artistic collaborations emphasise intersectionality and feminism’s relationship with ecology. This chapter uses the music videos for Hopelessness and Paradise as a springboard from which to argue the complexity of transgressive potential in relation to ageing and ‘othered’ femininities. All except one of the videos use a similar method of inserting Anohni’s transgendered voice into the mouths of Black, ageing, non-normative women in what I argue is a strategy of displacement that doubles up the transgressive potential of Anohni’s work. She upsets a singular subjectivity through this process and also, if we think of her voice and its vocalisation as being some how out of sync, in so far as it is displaced, then her work also prioritises a sense of being ‘out of time’. The chapter works primarily with two of Judith Halberstam’s concepts from her 2005 writing on ‘Queer temporality’ where she argues for the concept of a ‘queer time’ that lies beyond the logics of heteronormative and capitalist temporal certitude and trajectory and for the ‘patina of transgression’ (p.19) that transgendered bodies suggest. It formulates how the audio-visual contributions of one transgendered artist ushers into popular culture versions of liminal and flexible subjectivities in relation to gender and age that also encompass race and sexuality. This is a lot to deal with but it uses O’Grady’s work on miscegenation ‘When Margins become Centers’ (CCVA exhibition, 10/2015 – 01/2016) and work on TimeSpace and ageing (May and Thrift, 2001; Moglen, 2008; Baars, 2012; Hawkins, 2016) to ask questions about the transgressive potential of both transgendered voices and of ageing bodies, whose presence is emblematic of a ‘queer time’ (p.4), a kind of temporality that is ‘wilfully eccentric’ (p.1) and subject to a non normative life-course.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Media > Music and Media
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Abigail Gardner
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2017 15:22
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2017 01:46
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5011

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