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Project: Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects

Transgender Hirstory in 99 Objects, part of the conceptual-art project Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art (MOTHA), is a visual and material exploration of objects that hold significance in narrating the history of transgender communities. The objects—such as the first transgender pride flag, designed by Monica Helms—point to larger cultural and political issues while inviting critical attention to the ways that transgender history is continually being written and rewritten. After assessing the absences in a number of LGBTQ archives throughout the U.S. and Canada, Vargas will commission transgender artists to fabricate missing objects. Accompanying text will explore the reasons for each absence. The project will take the form of exhibitions (in gallery spaces and online), a book and a touring multimedia presentation.

Awardee: Chris E. Vargas

Emerging Fields, 2016

Chris E. Vargas is a video maker and interdisciplinary artist currently based in Bellingham, WA. His work deploys humor and performance in conjunction with mainstream idioms to explore the complex ways that queer and trans people negotiate spaces for themselves within historical and institutional memory and popular culture. From 2008–13, Vargas collaborated with Greg Youmans to make the web-based trans/cisgender sitcom Falling In Love...with Chris and Greg. He also co-directed with Eric Stanley the movie Homotopia (2006) and its feature-length sequel Criminal Queers (2015). He is the Executive Director of MOTHA, the Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art, a conceptual arts and hirstory institution highlighting the contributions of trans art to the cultural and political landscape. In all of his work, Vargas approaches the queer past as something that is continually written and rewritten in the service of changing political goals.

http://www.chrisevargas.com