UNCHartED: Random Acts of Culture
Over, Under, Over:
Intertwined Experiences in a Transgender Age
A Project 42 Collaboration
Over, Under, Over: Experiences in a Transgender Age will take place in the Great Hall of the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg on August 20th from 6-8 PM. This public space will provide an excellent location for attendees to listen to the discussions between Vaughan, Fleeting, and each volunteer. To make reservations or if you have questions, please contact Associate Curator of Public Programs Mary Szaroleta at email@example.com.
Jono Vaughan’s performance work Over, Under, Over: Intertwined Experiences in a Transgender Age is a collaboration between Vaughan, hairstylist Moriah Fleeting, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, and members of the public. This collaboration is part of a larger body of work titled Project 42 that seeks to honor the lives of 42 transgender woman who were murdered in the United States. Historically hair has played an important and specific role in global cultures with the hair stylist at times wielding significant social power. The spaces in which hair-based activities traditionally occur (the salon, the barber shop, and the home) often become infused with political and cultural conversations. Vaughan’s performance builds upon this history by inviting volunteers to sit and have their hair braided while conversing with the artist about the unacceptably high rate of murder affecting the transgender community in the United States.
In a country that is slowly becoming more accepting of transgender identities, much of the discussions taking place revolve around individuals whose narratives are very different from the majority of transgender experiences. Today’s visible media coverage of transgender stories provides an excellent opportunity to create new understanding within our culture and to develop strategies that eliminate the stigmas that surround gender identity. Like much of Vaughan’s work, Over, Under, Over, engages viewers and volunteers through aesthetically pleasing experiences as a means to eradicate boundaries surrounding difficult and charged subjects. Volunteers will or part of an intimate experience with the artist that has cultural connections to activities considered by many to be a cross generational and community-based form of education. The braid that will be utilized in the performance will mimic those worn by Vaughan for the performance, creating a visible symbol of solidarity with the transgender community. Over, Under, Over, will also act as a memorial for 10 murder victims, through the telling of their story, and raising awareness of their cases.
There are 10 time slots open during the performance, each of which will be 10 minutes in length. Volunteers may align with any gender identity, however, the artist is seeking collaborators who are eager to learn about this issue and to use their experiences from the performance as a means to telegraph the information into new communities. Unfortunately, because of the style of braids being utilized for the performance, environmental requirements of the space itself, and as a result of available time slots, all collaborators must have shoulder length hair. Finally, because of the use of video documentation and the discussions that will take place, all volunteers must be over 18 years of age.
Image: Digital documentation of collaborator Emily Navarra’s performance in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam – image courtesy of Jono Vaughan.