'I am not a normal woman trapped inside a man's body. This cultural sound byte does not begin to encompass the complexity of my experience'
These are the words of Nina Arsenault, transgendered playwright-performer, columnist, and sex worker. Arsenault has undergone more than sixty surgeries at a cost of $200,000 to feminize and beautify her originally male body. Throughout her evolution, Arsenault has aspired to unreal, unnatural beauty, refusing to be reasonable in her choices. In conventional performance situations or on view buying a coffee at the local corner store, she represents the relationship between the female self and the constructed, personally designed feminine body she inhabits.
In TRANS(per)FORMING Nine Arsenault, Judith Rudakoff brings together texts by artists, scholars, and Arsenault herself that vary widely in perspective, experience, and form, to offer a cross-disciplinary set of investigative and critical approaches to beauty, image, and the notion of queerness through the filter of Arsenault's performance art, and her commitment to embodying a hyperfeminized Western ideal.
Also included are thirty-five full colour photographs of Arsenault (by seventeen photographers), some of which document the artist's extreme transformation while others showcase her many personae. The full script of Arsenault's critically acclaimed, autobiographical stage play, The Silicone Diaries completes this eclectic anthology.
Intellect, 2012. Paperback, 232 pages, full colour images, 17 x 23cm
Adrian Howells (1962–2014) was one of the world’s leading figures in the field of one-to-one performance practice - the act of staging an event for one audience participant at a...