2018 Wasserman Forum: Future Genders

November 9 - 10, 2018
Event Types
Special Program
Public Program
2018 Wasserman Forum panelists are seated on stage with the MIT List logo behind.

2018 Wasserman Forum Panelists Left to Right: David Getsy, Alok Vaid-Menon, Jacolby Satterwhite, Cassils

Artists and cultural practitioners are at the forefront of critically analyzing and reimagining how we think about, experience, and represent gender. In particular, the political and cultural strategies of trans and genderqueer people, both historically and today, offer vital insights into and pathways for emergent conceptions of gender. The 2018 Wasserman Forum: Future Genders, November 9-10, will address these developments from multiple perspectives by bringing together important voices in the visual arts, architecture, activism, and scholarship.

2018 Max Wasserman Forum Schedule

Friday, November 9

5 PM: Welcome by Paul C. Ha (Director, List Center)

5:30 - 7 PM : Keynote Address by Mel Y. Chen (UC Berkeley)

Saturday, November 10

10:30 AM - 12 PM: Gender in Space: Policies, Pedagogies, and Publics

This panel brings together a range of figures working across the visual and spatial fields to brainstorm, share, and critically reflect on creative strategies for engaging with gender in public space. In an age of trigger warnings and safe spaces, bathroom bills and border walls, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, panelists will to consider the following questions. What are the potential and limitations of art, architecture, and activism in contesting, subverting, and cultivating pedagogies and policies? Working within institutional infrastructures, how can cultural practitioners resist and reform spaces of gender-based violence such as the university and the art museum? Can they enable or even give rise to new publics and subjectivities? What tools do trans, dis/ability, and critical race studies offer for framing these questions in different ways?

Lucas Crawford (University of New Brunswick), Zethu Matebeni (University of Cape Town), and Carlos Motta (Artist, New York). Moderated by Kian Goh (UCLA)

1:30 - 3 PM: Artistic Genealogies: The Legacies of Trans History

Despite the increasing hyper-visibility of trans people in public culture for over a century, vital histories of trans life have been lost, neglected, obscured, hidden, and erased. At the same time, cultural practitioners, both historically and today, have devised methods to collect, chronicle, and share trans cultural production and other historical residues. For many artists and archivists, exploring the past has been particularly instrumental for visualizing the future. Reflecting on the archive as a site of not only intergenerational memory, but also historical possibility, this panel will center on the following questions. In what meaningful ways have artists, curators, and researchers excavated, sustained, and re-animated these archives? How does trans history open up new understandings of the archive’s role and responsibility? What tensions and discrepancies emerge in the project of institutionalizing such histories

Shu Lea Cheang (Artist, Taipei and Paris), Wu Tsang (Artist, Los Angeles), and Chris E. Vargas (Artist, Bellingham, Washington). Moderated by Susan Stryker (University of Arizona)

3:30 - 5 PM: Considering Forms: Transgender and Genderqueer Artistic Strategies

Whether through representation or abstraction, art and image-making have been important tools for engaging with and theorizing the multiple articulations of gender. By examining the stakes of visibility and the politics of form as critical concerns for artists, this panel asks: What strategies do cultural practitioners employ to bridge physical and imaginative borders, and how do these strategies complicate presumptions about identification and expression? Beyond its embodiments, how does gender operate as metaphor, as method, as category, or as potential? Moreover, how does art illuminate the manifold intersections of gender with race, sexuality, class, and dis/ability?

Cassils (Artist, Los Angeles), Jacolby Satterwhite (Artist, New York), and Alok Vaid-Menon (Artist, New York). Moderated by David Getsy (SAIC)

5 - 6 PM: Reception

About the Max Wasserman Forum

The Max Wasserman Forum on Contemporary Art was established in memory of Max Wasserman(MIT Class of 1935), a founding member of the Council for the Arts at MIT. This public forum was endowed through the generosity of the late Jeanne Wasserman and addresses critical issues in contemporary art and culture through the participation of renowned scholars, artists, and arts professionals. The forum is organized and presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center.