Opacities: Trans Visual Cultures: March 5


Opacities: Trans Visual Cultures with Tourmaline + Chris Vargas
In conversation with Eric Stanley

Thursday, March 5, 2020 | 5:30-7:00pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by Arts Research Center, the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture, and The LGBTQ Citizenship Cluster at the Othering and Belonging Institute

Please note: In solidarity with the UC-wide student worker strike/walkout this Thursday, March 5, from 8:00am to 5:00pm, we are moving the start time of our event to 5:30pm, in order to respect the picket line. The conversation with take place from 5:30-7:00pm. Thank you for your support and understanding.

This conversation will engage Tourmaline and Chris Vargas, two of the most consequential artists/ theorists working in the United States. Focusing on questions of trans representation, modes of artistic production, and the uses of hirstory, they will also present clips and other documentation of their past and current projects.  


Tourmaline makes film and installed video that highlights the capacity of black queer/trans social life to impact the world while living what is simultaneously an invisible—and hypervisible—existence. The throughline of her filmmaking focuses on everyday people and their mundane creative acts that blur the lines and liens of what constitutes public. Her work includes Salacia, Mary of Ill Fame, Atlantic is a Sea of BonesThe Personal ThingsLost in the Music and Happy Birthday, Marsha! She is also an editor of TRAP DOOR, an anthology on trans cultural production published by the New Museum & MIT Press. She received a BA from Columbia University and is the recipient of the 2018 Publishing Triangle Award, Special Mention at 2018 Outfest Film Festival, 2017 HBO & Queer/Art Prize and 2016 Art Matters Foundation Grant. She is a  2016-2017 participant in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program, and a 2012-2013 Queer/Art/Mentorship fellow. From 2014-2018 she was Barnard College Research On Women’s activist in resident. Her work has been presented across the world including at the Museum of Modern Art (2019), the Brooklyn Museum (2016, 2019), MoMA PS1 (2019), The Kitchen (2018), BFI Flare (2018), Portland Art Museum (2018), BAM Cinematek (2018), The New Museum (2017), The Whitney Museum (2017), MOCA LA (2017), the Studio Museum in Harlem (2017), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2017).

Chris E. Vargas is a video maker & interdisciplinary artist. He earned his MFA in the department of Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2011. From 2008-2013, he made, in collaboration with Greg Youmans, the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love…with Chris and Greg. With Eric Stanley, Vargas co-directed the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2015). Vargas is also the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, an arts & hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape.

Eric A. Stanley is an assistant professor in the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Along with Tourmaline and Johanna Burton, Eric edited the anthology Trap Door: Trans Cultural Production and the Politics of Visibility (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2017), and with Nat Smith, they edited Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press 2011/15). In collaboration with Chris Vargas, Eric directed the films Criminal Queers (2019) and Homotopia (2008).