P. Staff (born in Bognor Regis, United Kingdom; lives in Los Angeles, United States, and in London, United Kingdom) explores the invasive presence of discipline, violence, and work in the definition of trans*, non-binary, and queer identities. Their projects, often collaborative, combine performance, installation, and video to make perceptible how history, technology, capitalism and the law have fundamentally transformed the contemporary social constitution of bodies.
“Trans*” is an umbrella term for the different gender identities and expressions that a person might have, other than those defined by social and medical norms. The asterisk is used to encompass all of these identities within a single term so that they don’t all have to be listed (Conseil québécois LGBT).
- Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
- Countries / Nations
- United Kingdom / United States
- Los Angeles, United States, and London, United Kingdom
In the installation LESBIAN GULLS, DEAD ZONES, SWEAT & T., Lin and Staff highlight the subversive potential of natural chemicals and trace the unpredictable circulation of hormones within and beyond bodies. The collaborative work primarily comprises hacked commercial fog machines emitting what the artists call hormonal smoke: air infused with tinctures of natural anti-androgens, materials—such as licorice and black cohosh—that inhibit the production of testosterone in the body. Though intangible and nearly invisible, these lingering clouds emphasize the power of inanimate materials to influence the living. Hormones—often understood as a stable determinant of binary sex—in fact fluctuate all around us, linking gendered bodies to synthetic substances as well as the “natural world.” Including wooden dividers that resemble the partitions from which walls are constructed, into which various objects—ceramics, erotic texts, herbs—are incorporated, the hexagonal installation imitates the atomic structure of a benzene ring, a chemical compound that determines the behavior of sex hormones and is altered by their aromatization. As its title indicates, LESBIAN GULLS, DEAD ZONES, SWEAT & T. explores the dense interdependence of bodies, ecosystems, and institutional structures, debunking the pejorative aspect attached to notions of contamination, toxicity, and interspecies exchanges. Through this queer exploration of hormonotherapy, Lin and Staff recenter a botanical knowledge marginalized by colonialism.