“Dis Harmony sets out a dialogue of desires between individuals who express oppositional, contra divisive positionalities. So we wonder; what happens when a TERF and a trans woman fall in love? Will Germaine Greer go on a date with me? Am I still a Marxist feminist if I buy a Feminist Killjoy mug? Are we all sex dolls? Who wants a mercy fuck anyways?”
“Dis Harmony is a fictional character, the contra alter ego of Harmony, a sex doll driven by an app that allows the user to create a virtual girlfriend sold on realbotix.com. Harmony is the cruel promise of a girlfriend who will never cheat on you. Well, we found ways to hack the software. Dis Harmony fucks Harmony but does not rely on angry sex only. Dis Harmony is the cover face of our zine, celebrating techno life, assemblage intimacies, affective politics. The zine explores the disputes and the affective bonds between feminism and trans* issues. The creation of the Dis Harmony is inspired by the discussions that emerged during the Sex/Race/Trans: Human Life Forms class taught by Mireille Rosello at the University of Amsterdam.”
Dis Harmony is both a performance and a debate. Embodying techno-sexuality, Dis Harmony is not only offering a novel approach of doing (and undoing) trans/queer erotics, but showing just how messy those erotics become when they entangle positions seen as necessarily oppositional. What are we to do as intersectional feminists when the TERF makes herself close to us or we even become her, although we see ourselves as rejecting her entirely? How does the act of sex change when it’s arrested from the discourse of genitality and given over to a dildonic topography, where the borders of the body dissolve and everything becomes able to penetrate and be penetrated? Dis Harmony explores all of these tensions and blisses, opening itself up to new avenues of exploring the fluid spaces that open when we press the politics of identity to its limits.
Justine Gensse as Justin Genss, Alex Tess Rutten as Carla Rodham, Hannah Pezzack as Andrea Wolff
We heard about your performance in the Sex, Trans, Race course where a dildo was used as a gun, a microphone and ended up vibrating on the floor. You asked the provocative question “Are we all trans?”, it can sound quite upsetting, how do you feel about it?
Disharmony: We were certainly trying to dis-order certain feelings. As, of course, feelings are things we rarely have control over. What happens when a TERF and a trans woman fall in love? Am I still a Marxist feminist if I drink in a feminist killjoy mug? Are we all sex dolls? Who wants a mercy fuck anyways? Like the dildo, the question is there to make vibrations. So often questions are oriented and asked to comfort us like, “how are you?” But in the end, they make our eyes roll 360 degrees. Here, we worked through disorientation more. Vibrations can be desirable, but mostly when they are disturbing. People oscillate on their chair and it provokes a bundle of affects. So yes, we turned the awkward fear of asking a question into the desire to make people feel, react and turn their bodies upside down as Preciado writes, instead of taming a point of view: often left-wing, trans* friendly, and sometimes hypocritical within the academic context.
The performance and zine feature many voices. Some are cited – from scholars, pop music and elsewhere – and some are performed or fictional, while at times a more conventionally academic or critical voice is also audible. Given the stakes of individualism and identity politics mentioned in your discussion of trans* and feminist questions, how important is it to bounce these different voices off one another?
We live in the era of broken-hearted identities and being broke, seeing through disharmony acknowledges that there are many of us. Arousing a bundle of voices and citations enables to mess around with the complexity of bodies. Why do we need to stick to a category of references when all is so sticky? The boundaries between artistic practice and academia is totally unclear, and it’s fun and manifest to work through the blurred, the disharmony. There are also “real” people in the zine – for instance, a friend who addressed the problematic title of our performance ‘Are We All Trans?’ and these voices bounce off each other, as they also mess with the boundaries between institutional, social and creative worlds.
In the zine, there is a strong element of science fiction, who is Dis Harmony exactly? And how do technology and dildos figure in the questions you raise here?
The credits go to a legacy of feminist and transfeminist writings on cyborgian identities. As Haraway proposes, how does the cyborg allow us to transcend binaries? Dis Harmony is a indeed a fictional character, the contra alter ego of Harmony, a sex doll driven by an app that allows the user to create a virtual girlfriend sold on realbotix.com. Harmony is the cruel promise of a girlfriend who will never cheat on you. Well, we found ways to hack the software. Dis Harmony fucks Harmony but does not rely on angry sex only. Dis Harmony is the cover face of our zine, celebrating techno life, assemblage intimacies, affective politics, questioning the interplay, the disputes and love making between feminism and trans* issues.