Around 1945, in a clandestine photography studio somewhere in Buenos Aires, a small circle of travestis (loosely, trans femmes) produced a group of portraits that, by turns, perform, parody, and pervert a midcentury paragon of housewifery. Across the extant group of snapshots from this session, which today form part of the Archivo de la Memoria Trans (Archive of Trans Memory) in Argentina, the sitters retrace the enduringly violent contours of visuality to play out alternative worlds of travesti domesticity, bourgeois comfort, and feminine ease—complete with their material implications. This talk brings these early visual traces of genderqueer life and camaraderie into a longer, wayward history of travesti-trans dreaming and aesthetic (re)imaginings.
About the Speaker
Joseph Shaikewitz is a PhD student at the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where they research Latin American modernisms and the intersections of feminist, queer, and trans practices and histories. Their work weaves together the art and visual culture of the early twentieth century with questions of space, worldmaking, futurity, and indeterminacy.
Image credit: Unrecorded photographer. Untitled (Malva y sus amigas), ca. 1945. Gelatin silver print. Fondo Malva Solís, Archivo de la Memoria Trans, Buenos Aires.
Stanford Humanities Center
424 Santa Teresa Street