Ineffable Glossolalia

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I find that words often fail to describe trans experiences. I am defined as in between, in flux, as occupying no fixed position—post truth according to past truth claims. Because the existence of subjects like me has long been brutally suppressed, I lack the vocabulary to coherently speak my truth, and so I reach into myth, and neologisms, and into ruptures where cultural mores have lapsed and something akin to me can be glimpsed. This creates an imperfect lexicon of fragments and smears. But nevertheless, I must express—an ineffable glossolalia.

Ineffable Glossolalia is a dreamy conflation inspired by Borges' Library of Babel and the German Institut für Sexualwissenschaft—a Weimar era sexual research clinic which performed seminal transgender studies before being sacked by Nazi youth in 1933. Although the institute was progressive in many ways, its founders were strong proponents of eugenics, and instrumentalized their clients to this end. Nonetheless a great deal was lost when the institute's archives were burnt as part of the infamous May 10th book burning in Bebelplatz Square. This piece inhabits the reverberations of archival loss, the ongoing effects of lack, and explores the ways in which erased people must often mend and make do.

(Content note for anti gay/trans hate speech)

Music by Rani Baker. https://destroyedforcomfort.bandcamp.com/

Words by: Crystal Castles, Max Beckman, Gaius Valerius Catullus, Heinrich Heine, Magnus Hirschfeld and his institute, Jorge Luis Borges, the Deutsche Studentenschaft, and Tabitha Nikolai

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Last Modified: Sep 16, 2019

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