This is the first draft of my fall 2019 piece titled “possession (1981)” inspired by the horror film Possession directed by Andrzej Żuławski.

Using the tragic myth of actualization to put personal embodiment and demonic possession in conversation, I hope to explore how the migration of radical reclamation of gender and the body from a cis-hetero capitalist system can weaponize happiness against oneself by using happiness as the measure of self-actualization. Set to music including Mitski, Enya, Frank Sinatra, and the Wicked soundtrack, I pry the door open and get what I want. Private and public, joyous and oppressive, humorous and horrifying, “possession (1981)” is a spectated conversation with myself. 

The seeds of this work are the never-ending riddles and epic storytelling of the film Possession.  I’m interested in excavating Isabelle Adjani’s performance and how her character manifests her own possession. She revels in its power and agonizes in its torture. She is hypnotized, chaotic, and soothed by the indulgent pleasure of her self-destruction. This is my process of self-actualization as a transgender person: battling my inner transphobic demons, killing off parts of myself that aren’t “me,” becoming the person that I’ve always been.  Being trans is becoming the agent of my own possession in the interest of self-actualization.