Fantasy allows us to imagine radical alternatives to the present, and art is the praxis of fantasy.
As I walked up the stairwell to the radio station I worked at in Iowa City, I was wondering what my next big project would be, as I had just finished working on a large sound art installation at the University of Iowa while earning my MFA. A voice in the back of my head responded, “what if you made you you’re next project?” I sobbed in the lobby as I considered coming out publicly as a trans woman. Through my intermedia art practice, informed by the poetics of the everyday rooted in Fluxus, I found the road into coming into my queer identity. I went on to come out publicly over terrestrial radio as part of a series of radio art performances designed to allow for queer becoming.
Drawing upon lived experience and scholarly research, my art is committed to creating spaces of inclusion, at times by highlighting destructive conventions, power imbalances, and forces of exclusion by creating a fleeting oasis of shared sensibility. Following this trajectory, I am currently invested in illustrating connections between transgender studies and sound studies in my research and performance art practice. This has appeared in recent works that experiments with drum performance that have included incorporating queer performativity into rock drumming such as fisting the bass drum and injecting the snare drum with estrogen. Performing these working in front of audiences has promoted conversations about bodies and gender and it is my vision that these will fit into electronic art related scholarship within posthumanism and microperformativity. It is my sincerest hope that my work be used as an example, as permission, for other trans* people’s liberation, joy, and becoming.
In line with this hope, my essay “Nightmares and Dreams on Progesterone: Action Art Scores for Trans Becoming” (to be published in an issue of the Media-N Journal on Trans New Media Art as Embodied Practice) outlines this methodology. The essay is an introduction to a collection of action art scores that are reinterpreted instructions made from translating entries from my dream journal; a document I began after adding progesterone to my hormone replacement therapy regiment because I was experiences a side effect of vivid dreaming. This partly autobiographical essay forms links between trans* dreams, performance, and becoming as interconnected in the process of trans* life. Ultimately, the essay is meant to foreground the scores which are designed to be tools for other queer and trans* people. Influenced by Allan Kaprow and his statement, “the line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible,” the scores have varying levels of poetic abstraction. As I have had the pleasure of mentoring many trans and queer students, sometimes I find myself wondering if they really want to make this labor intensive, critical artwork, or if they want to come out and be recognized for who they are. I once used art and labor as excuses to avoid coming out. Thus scores such as Score #58, whose only instruction is “Come out to your family,” find resonance with me.
Active discovery for both the artist and audience is a critical component of my performance practice. I believe art can open people up to radical alternatives to the present, and the responsibility of creating work whose theory and praxis is directed towards queer liberation, and thus contributing to the liberation of all people, is something I take seriously. In the words of the political activist David Graeber, “the ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”
Bio Lorelei d’Andriole (she/her/hers) is an artist, educator and writer whose work is at the intersections of intermedia and transgender studies. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, d’Andriole toured across the
country in punk bands and played hundreds of shows in venues ranging from house
shows to amphitheaters. d’Andriole earned her BFA in New Media from the University
of Central Oklahoma (Magna Cum Laude) in 2018 and immediately went on to earn
her MA and MFA with honors from the University of Iowa’s Intermedia program.
She has shown work nationally at universities, galleries, festivals and DIY
spaces including sUgAR Gallery (Arkansas), University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and
Public Space One’s Open Air Media Festival (Iowa). As a production director for
KRUI 89.7 FM, d’Andriole hosted an experimental radio art program where she did
weekly broadcasts for three years. d’Andriole recently completed a visual arts fellowship at
the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art in New York City, NY and currently works as an Assistant Professor
in Electronic Art and Intermedia at Michigan State University. d’Andriole also plays drums in the indie band LVRS and is part of the artist duos HOLO (with artist Kelly Clare) and Wetware Instruments (with artist Abhishek Narula). d’Andriole is currently serving as a committee member for the International Alliance for Women in Music where she advocates for queer and trans* composers and musicians. She has completed artist residencies at Public Space One in Iowa City IA, A.P.E. in East Hampton MA, Wave Farm in Acra NY, and the Insitute for Electronic Art at Alfred University in Alfred NY. Feburary 2023