SCARchiTEXTURES: On Surgical Transformations and Morphogenesis through Destructive Topologies
My research seeks to investigate the hypothesis that formal growth can be generated through topological destruction. In order to do so, I examine surgical trans*formations and the consequent scarring textures, through the lenses of architecture, medical science, bio-engineering, philosophy and transgender studies. Starting from the new-materialist philosophy of Manuel DeLanda, I explain why his conception of the “topological animal” loses its validity in the case of body transformations through surgical procedures. I then reread Karl Langer’s topological body map in order to propose a reconceptualization of the term “topology”. My analysis of Langer’s model gives rise to what I call anti-topology. This topology implies contingent ruptures and destructions of its features. This leads me to the production of a novel anti-topological body map, which suggests how a body should be cut so as to maximize its morphogenetic capacities. Going further with my research, I investigate surgical processes in order to determine in which ways geometrical factors are engaged in morphogenesis through topological destruction. In the final stage of my analysis, I interrogate upon the structure, organization and properties of the scarring growth, through the investigation of its biomechanics and architecture. This leads me to conclusions concerning the ontology of this sensuous growth and the perplexed relationship it creates between sensitivity and functionality.
Athina Angelopoulou is a MArch diploma student. She is currently conducting her diploma project in order to obtain a 5-year degree in Architecture [BSc. Arch & MSc. Arc joined diploma] from the National Technical University of Athens. She also studied in the Master program of École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris Malaquais during the year 2014-2015. Her Master thesis on “The Architectural Construction of Monstrous Bodies: The case of Dr. Moreau” (2016) was honored with research distinction; while her artistic work concerning the Construction of Monstrous and Queer Bodies, Wearable Computing and Body Interfaces; as well as The Relation between Body and Architectural Landscapes has been exhibited in national and international institutions (European Researchers’ Night NTUA 2016, Benaki Museum 2014, Goethe Institute in Sofia 2013 , Virtual Exhibition of Hydrid City II UoA 2013, FOSSCOMM 2013 HUA, European Biennial of Landscape Architecture in Barcelona 2012).
Deconstructing Queer Youth Suicide: The Production and Limitations of Queerness in Hometown Obituaries
Queer youth suicide has come to represent an epidemic or contagion within the United States. When taken up by the media, it is often treated as spectacular, sensationalistic, or heroic. This article examines how local obituaries and news stories construct the figure of the queer youth subject and the act of suicide. Using the lens of deconstruction and a selection of obituaries, I argue that the obituaries produce and limit queerness through the employment of gender signifiers, the articulation of queer exceptionalism and the heroic narrative, and references to other texts regarding queer youth and suicide. In relation to the queer subject, the obituary authors discursively produce the subjects as queer, but simultaneously suppress transgender identities in favor of the queer or gay. They also reorient the subjects’ queerness toward a national narrative that is digestible for their readership. The suicides themselves become queer suicides in relation to a chain of signifiers and other deaths. In contrast to straight suicides, these particular deaths are interconnected through the embodiment of suicide and the responsibility of act.
Mary Morrissey is a second-year master’s student in the Gender/Cultural Studies and Education departments at Simmons College. Her research interests include race, education, and queer youth. Her most recent research focuses on the material and gendered implications of the prison industrial complex for drug offenders who are women.
Unsettling The Homestead: An Archive of Female Masculinity in Saskatchewan
Unsettling the Homestead is a visual arts exhibit which investigates the lived experience of a masculine female body transgressing the borders of identity. This is expressed through the use of archived images of gender fluidity, rural construction materials, artifacts of childhood masculinity, and narratives of resilience. A personal intersection of femininity, masculinity, trauma, and resilience is revealed. The work examines how genderphobia impacts trauma and resilience written on a body living within multiple margins. Themes of private/public, power, accessibility, embodiment, and queering the homestead are explored. The intention is for this project to inform and inspire a broader master’s degree thesis exhibition on the lived experience of resilience and genderphobia for masculine women. The personal goal of Unsettling the Homestead is to locate a strong and vivid thread of resilience in liminal gender identity, and to encourage a public conversation about it. Unsettling was a public exhibition where viewers anonymously shared written reflections of their visceral experience of the exhibit. For the UnDisciplined 2017 conference, the aim is to provide an artist talk/discussion on the creative process and the initial public participation research findings.
Devin West is currently in the Women, Gender, and Sexualities Studies MA program at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research uses Photo Voice to artistically explore themes of trauma and resilience for masculine women who experience genderphobia.
Devin’s philosophy has been shaped by contrasting careers as a clinical social worker and journeyman carpenter. These unlikely companions have permitted her to passionately advocate for and mentor women who are driven to breaking down barriers in pursuing male dominated careers.
Throughout her life, Devin has been a renegade in continuously and consciously exploring gender, femininity/masculinity, and other liminal spaces of identity. Most recently, she has discovered the power of using public visual art as a catalyst to inform and inspire further conversations about gender fluidity and genderphobia.