Julieta Salgago, Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, Christopher Street Pier, NYC, 2015

Julieta Salgago, Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice, Christopher Street Pier, NYC, 2015

As a child I thought that my body was broken. I experienced abuse, punishment, and policing because of how my body moves through the world and my refusal to conform to normative constructs of gender, race, and sexuality. Western culture is obsessed with individual bodies, with marking them with meanings and values. Within modern capitalism certain bodies are made pure, virtuous, and free while other bodies broken, disposable, and exploitable. My art practice is a way for me to reclaim self-autonomy and disrupt the ways power and meaning have been inscribed on bodies rendered abject. I create performances, texts, videos, sound, and installations informed by autoethnography, archival research, and social practice.

I developed my creative practice voguing in queer clubs in New York City and Oakland; holding healing cyphers that affirm the lives of Black queer, gender nonconforming, trans and femme folks; and staging experimental performances in venues throughout the Bay Area and New York. My methodological and aesthetic approach to art making is best defined by the Theatrical Jazz Aesthetic, a term used by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones to describe styles of Afro Diasporic cultural production. Using vernacular expression, repetition and rift, call and response, polyvocality and improvisation – elements of art making I learned in Black queer social spaces – I architect immersive and affective experiences that cultivate embodied community, reveal the conditions of our contemporary moment, and imagine beloved futures.