Part of a three-fold project (2003 - 2008) – a symposium, a publication, an online platform – , the trans / gender magazine delves into discussions on gender and gender identities. By presenting an interplay of gender, art, new media and archaeology, the publication explores the space between “trans” and “gender”. The space around the sign “/” is meant as a moment to pause, and to explore beyond societal and historical binaries of gender.
The trans / gender magazine derived from the trans / gender symposium, which we, Nina Hoechtl and Suzanne van Rossenberg, convened at the beginning of 2003 during our Master’s course at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam (Netherlands). During this time on the programme and our collaboration on trans / gender, a dear friendship developed that we have maintained since then, although we live very far apart and see each other rarely.
The symposium emerged from our need to address the gendered nature of politics, power and relations in the arts – issues that we considered should be granted more prominence in the MA Fine Art curriculum. The symposium took place in Zaal de Unie in Rotterdam, which back then functioned as a theatre and debate centre. The symposium and magazine was fiercely and skillfully supported by the course director Anke Bangma.
The Piet Zwart Institute covered direct costs of the symposium (speakers, theatre hire, posters), the magazine (graphic design, production costs) and launch of the magazine at, what is currently known, the Nederlands Fotomuseum (Dutch Photography Museum). A small grant from Mama Cash (feminist philanthropic organisation) supported additional features in the magazine.
The budget that the Piet Zwart Institute provided was ringfenced for student projects resulting from, among others, course fees from students. Students’ “in-kind” contributions were in effect paid for by themselves, and all student contributions were accepted. Contributions from outsiders were reimbursed. We, Nina and Suzanne, spent many voluntary hours on the project, which contributed towards credits on our degree certificate, as well as the “symbolic economic value” of our art practices (that is, on our CVs).
The trans / gender online platform was a spin-off that hosted contributions from artists across the world. In 2006, the website received an honourable mention in the digital media prize Der Marianne.von.Willemer Preis für digitale Medien (Austria). Later (around 2007), we used it to host a call for participation called “What could a feminist art currency look like?”, which was the result of a collaboration between Suzanne, Nina, Carla Cruz, and Francesco Ventrella. This project was supported by the European Feminist Forum (EFF) for which we also organised workshops for feminist artists and curators in Europe. In 2009, this call for contributions was exhibited in the feminist blockbuster Rebelle: Art and Feminism, 1969-2009 (Museum of Modern Art, Arnhem), curated by Mirjam Westen, and published in the exhibition catalogue. The EFF ceased to exist due to a lack of funding, and the trans / gender platform was discontinued at a certain point. The URL has been disbanded.
We were conscious that the trans / gender project largely consisted of a gift economy, and whilst subverting traditional art structures, it also contributed to the (self-)exploitation of artists.
Contributors to the trans / gender symposium and magazine: cultural theorist Marieke van Eijk (Netherlands); art historian Doris Guth (Austria); artist Risk Hazekamp (Netherlands); archaeologist Marjolijn Kok (Netherlands); art historian and media theorist Verena Kuni (Germany); and curator Mirjam van Westen (Netherlands).
Contributors to the trans / gender magazine: artists Babak Afrassiabi (Netherlands/Iran), Jetske de Boer (Netherlands), Carla Cruz (Portugal), Agnieszka Czajkovska (Poland), Edward (Netherlands), Anne-Valerie Gasc (France), Nina Hoechtl (Austria), Birta Gudjonsdottir (Iceland), Amande In (France), Navid Nuur (Netherlands/Iran), Suzanne van Rossenberg (Netherlands), Eduardo Thomas (Mexico); and cultural theorist Peter Verstraten (Netherlands). Graphic design by Manuela Porceddu (Netherlands).
Contributors to the trans / gender online platform (dyfunct): All My Independent Women (AMIW), Jamika Ajalon (USA), Lorraine Bowen (England), Kael T Block (Colombia), Patricia Cornflake, Juan Pablo Echeverri (1979-2022, Colombia), Risk Hazekamp (Netherlands), Nina Hoechtl, Marjolijn Kok, Anuska Oosterhuis (Netherlands), Elisabeth Penker (Austria), Kumbia Queers (Argentina, Mexico), Julya Rabinowich (Austria), Suzanne van Rossenberg, Lígia Paz (Portugal), Andre Alves (Portugal), Verónica Pérez Karleson (Spain), Julia Rice (USA), David Maroto (Spain), Lina Dokuzovic (Croatia, Austria).