Stroboscopic

Strobe lighting effects will be used during this performance. Patrons that may suffer from epilepsy & other visual light stimulation effects are advised to contact the front of house staff prior to entering the auditorium.

“Doc” Harold Edgerton developed the strobe light as a kind of ultrafast camera shutter, able to capture motion and reveal what lies between the blink of an eye.  I know this because I got a personal demonstration on Strobe Alley one Saturday afternoon in 1969.

In the theatre the stop motion effect of strobe lights is used to convey an otherworldly progress of time and truth, taking us out of everyday time and knowledge.

My transgender life often feels like a stroboscopic fantasia.   In one moment I am just a big woman at the mall, in the next I am a respected transwoman, in the next I am a big scary freak, in the next I am a spiritual guide, in the next a deluded fool.

What is revealed and what is concealed in any moment, in any flash of the strobe?   Transpeople step out of simple binaries, shimmering between poles, but as we are caught in the strobe flashes of observers, they assign their own reality to us, illuminating part of us and keeping the rest in shadow.

With every strobe light fired by an observer, our image changes in ways that we don’t and can’t control. Pop!  Bang!  Flash!  Zoom!  Who am I now?   Is anyone having a seizure?  Is it me?

When every day is living under strobes, life becomes a trippy, psychedelic experience.   We may feel solid and present, but we know that the strobe light can kick in at any time, taking us out of time and turning us in to fixed images in the eyes of those around us.

Trans is a transitive identity, built not on frozen and fixed points but rather on the motion, the oscillation, the fluidity that marks the transformative nature of a human life.  We are not who we were or who we are going to be, we are in transit between those points, creating ourselves as we go in a struggle to be more authentic, more pure and more potent.

When that strobe goes off to freeze us in place we know that our heart and soul is taken away and replaced by the pin of a someone who needs to fix us in their taxonomy of the world.   It hurts.

Stroboscopic life robs me of the spaces between, the places where I really exist in energy and life force.

With every strobe light fired by an observer, our image changes in ways that we don’t and can’t control. Pop!  Bang!  Flash!  Zoom!  Who am I now?   Is anyone having a seizure?  Is it me?

Poof!

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