Visiting PhD Tais Terletskaja

Tais Terletskaja is a visiting PhD from the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. At the CGD, they are working together with the temporary supervisors Dr Eliza Steinbock and Dr Sandro Weilenmann. While at FASoS, Tais will organize a symposium that will take place in the afternoon of March 20, 2024.  The speakers from the participants of the NOG/NICA course *Trans* Archives, Arts, Affects taught by Steinbock (Feb-Mar).

Their research interests move across the intersections of gender and sexuality, affect, aesthetics, and contemporary politics of crisis and attrition. They have written about feminist critiques of work, notions of care and reproduction, and are currently working on a project on the politics of trans/queer imaginaries. 

In the project Sensuous Imaginaries: Affective (Re)orientations in Contemporary Trans Cultural Production I focus on the artistic strategies of selected trans/queer artists to investigate the ways they intervene in dominant perceptions and narratives of trans and queer existence. The past few decades have shown notable shifts in dominating perceptions on transness. Transgender culture, aesthetics and political concerns have gone from being a niche, subcultural, clandestine—or one might contend, invisibilized—phenomenon, to notably arriving in the circuits of western mass visual culture. Moving from widespread pathologizing to a more uneven terrain of cultural narratives shifting––in accordance with other axes of oppression, such as race and class, as well as geographic location––between levels of well-meaning accommodation and blatant hostility. In this project I wish move beyond this bifurcated affective terrain and explore nuances of trans/queer survival and flourishing that fall through the cracks of the dominant discourses on transness. To do so, I turn to the sphere of contemporary cultural production.

In this dissertation my ambition is to center the sensuous (non)knowledges of contemporary trans/queer artists; the ways they elaborate different bodily modes of existence and sketch out political openings. Going further, what can the perspective of trans/queer cultural production bring to thinking about the relation between artistic image making and social reality? What can we learn about the elusive operations through which poetic and aesthetic images affect the social when attending closely to the gendered meaning (un)making efforts of contemporary trans/queer artists?

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