Cassils Hard Times (2010)
  • Title: Hard Times
  • Holdings: photo gallery, video (HIDVL)
  • Duration: 00:02:55
  • Language: English
  • Date: 2010
  • Location: Center for Performance Research Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA
  • Type-Format: performance art
  • Cast: Conceived and performed by Cassils.
  • Credits: Videography by Alison Kelly, Ned Stresen-Reuter, and Matt Dunnerstick; Video editing by Ned Stresen-Reuter and Rhys Ernst; Music by Drew Brody; Performance score by Kadet Kuhne.

Cassils Hard Times (2010)

Cassils transgresses social gender constructions in Hard Times (2010). Throughout the performance Cassils alludes to Tiresias—a blind prophet in Greek mythology that mediates between male/female, blind/seeing, and present/future. Cassils poses on a scaffold in a coral bikini, blonde wig, and prosthetic mask that blinds their vision while the audience gazes at their body. They perform literal and figurative gestures that subvert iconography in classical sculpture and portraiture. Cassils invokes affect through body language that works to liberate gender binaries and standards of beauty. Ultimately, Cassils employs a trans temporality to create an image that politically challenges the superficial.

Cassils uses the body as sculpture to deconstruct societal norms. By using a queer lens to examine physical training, kinesiology, and sports science, Cassils manipulates the body into a shape that defies the gender binary. Cassils performs trans identity not as transitioning from one sex to another, but as a continual process of becoming. It is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique and discourse around physical and gender ideologies and histories. Drawing on body art, feminism, gay male aesthetics, conceptualism, and Hollywood cinema, Cassils creates a visual language that is emotionally striking and conceptually incisive.

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