Warriors: Beyond Unicorns and Erasures (2018)

"Upon reflection, it is easy to understand how Americans come to deny the evils of mass incarceration. Denial is facilitated by persistent racial segregation in housing and schools, by political demagoguery, by racialized media imagery, and by the ease of changing one's perception of reality simply by changing television channels." - Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, pg. 182


"The ungendering of blackness, then, opens onto a way of thinking about black gender as an infinite site of proliferative, constantly revisable reiterations figured 'outside' of gender's established and establishing symbolic order. Its symbolic order, which is simply one articulation of the ordering of things, relies upon gendered others to maintain an epistemological coherence." -C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides, pg. 74

Warriors: Beyond Unicorns and Erasures is a performance-conversation and citation of and with Antoine Williams's 2016 installation Because They Believe in Unicorns. Warriors is a performance-installation that builds upon what Williams was concerned with - the war against Black bodies inspired by Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness. Into this conversation, the performance introduces the simultaneous and ongoing war against trans* bodies (signaling also the wars against intersex, gender fluid, non-binary, and other-gendered bodies), with an emphasis on the current antagonisms of of gender variant bodies of color in 2018. Coleman locates the movement poetry of the piece, as a mixed-race Black transmasculine non-binary artist-scholar, as an ancestral tapestry in-motion, calling on movement repertoires of Black resistance, spoken through him, ancestrally. Coleman is citing C. Riley Snorton's text Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, allowing the ungendering of blackness to move through his dancing body. Part of a larger Performance as Research project, the piece contends with historical geopolitics of blackness and transness that do not rely upon visibility or recognition, acknowledging that such prerogatives participate in legacies of violence and ever-present death. Instead, the project looks beyond idealized and inaccurate notions of post-race and gender-inclusive unicorns and instead calls in the layered and dystopic social landscapes through which trans* bodies of color emerge. The project imagines trans* bodies of color as those for whom embodied complexities cite the layers of historical memory that are present in any given physical, geographic, and social location. Coleman argues that it is, in fact, trans* bodies that have a particular capacity to feel these layers of history, space, ground, and sociality because of the bodies they inhabit. The first place this project is concerned with is Greensboro. 

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