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Remixing as Reincarnation, Contagious Trans*birthing in the work of boychild 

Soapbox Journal: Platform for Cultural Analysis

University of Amsterdam

Published: 28 August 2020

Open-access, peer reviewed article available here: Soapbox Journal

A green strobe falls upon a convulsing body, naked from the waist up. With their mouth and hands illuminated, boychild crashes and breaks through a series of spasmodic bodily gestures to the lyrics of ‘say my name.’ As they come to an uncharacteristic pause they slowly arc their body backwards, falling into a pose of -almost- abandon to the beat, the lyrics, and the captivated audience. They hang suspended.

The above short describes part of boychild’s performance to Cyril Hahn’s remix of the song Say My Name. originally by Destiny’s Child, during artist/activist Mykki Blanco’s set at Off Festival in 2013. Through this performance by the mixed-race, mixed-gender boychild set to a remixed RnB classic, I propose to consider how remixing acts as an agitative, queer design practice. In connecting Kodwo Eshun’s discussion of ‘remixing as reincarnation’ to both the current COVID19 pandemic, anti-trans* backlash, and ‘transgender rage’ (Stryker, 237-254) I propose that a form of contagious trans*birthing is relayed through boychild’s performance. This intervention seeks to detach birthing from both reproductive bodies and space-time locality, to instead consider how the performance enacts a contagious kin making that simultaneously ventriloquises previous trans*cestors and acts as a future trans*birthing practice.

The full boychild video that I am referencing can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQw_kHoGKic