Nicole Erin Morse

Jul 13, 2022

Selfie Aesthetics

Seeing Trans Feminist Futures in Self-Representational Art

Duke University Press 2022

In Selfie Aesthetics: Seeing Trans Feminist Futures in Self-Representational Art (Duke University Press, 2022) Nicole Erin Morse examines how trans feminine artists use selfies and self-representational art to explore transition, selfhood, and relationality. Morse contends that rather than being understood as shallow emblems of a narcissistic age, selfies can produce politically meaningful encounters between creators and viewers. Through close readings of selfies and other digital artworks by trans feminist artists, Morse details a set of formal strategies they call selfie aesthetics: doubling, improvisation, seriality, and nonlinear temporality. Morse traces these strategies in the work of Zackary Drucker, Vivek Shraya, Tourmaline, Alok Vaid-Menon, Zinnia Jones, and Natalie Wynn, showing how these artists present improvisational identities and new modes of performative resistance by conveying the materialities of trans life. Morse shows how the interaction between selfie creators and viewers constructs collective modes of being and belonging in ways that envision trans feminist futures. By demonstrating the aesthetic depth and political potential of selfie creation, distribution, and reception, Morse deepens understandings of gender performativity and trans experience.

Daniela Meneses Sala is Peruvian Academic and Journalist. She holds an MSc in Gender (Sexuality) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. In October, she is starting a PhD in Latin American Studies at Cambridge University, funded by the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme.

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