Luki von der Gracht’s multimedia installation Coming To Voice consists of three parts. Each image is paired with a sung or spoken word text, which is played from a sound shower. The visitors are invited to sit down on the plexiglass stools placed beneath the showers.
The installation is asking questions about identity, gender, belonging and possibilities. The work deals with the topics of image politics and representation of trans* identity in the newspaper.
The work is a space for perspective and poetry, for doubt and frustration. A place for searching, questioning, pausing and hoping.
Part 1: In My Next Life I’ll Have Wings In My Next Life I’ll Wear High Heels
The pink letters, used for greeting cards or labeling, form the title of part 1: In My Next Life I’ll Have Wings In My Next Life I’ll Wear High Heels. This sentence is full of longing and in a way optimistic and pessimistic at the same time.
Finger prints are scattered on the whole image. In the middle is an envelope on which the transgender flag designed by Monica Helms is suggested. A psychedelic song sung/spoken by Luki is about being lost, hope and searching. The melody of the electric guitar is turning circle-like in its sound sphere. This is why it appears far away/foreign at times and very close/familiar at other times. The duration of the recording is unrecignizable because of the loop-character of the sound. Also the structure of the song gives no indication on beginning and ending.
Part 2: Political Woman
The recording is from Luki’s concert where the singer Josie is singing in the blue light and covering the song Political Woman with a megaphon.
The song is by Ilona Staller, better known as her alias Cicciolina. The singer and erotic model has used her fame of the 19080s for her political agenda. Her provocative politcal campaign included striptease, snakes as live props and the revealing of her left breast during speeches. She could enter the italian parliament in 1987 representing the city of Rome. Historically only 10 percent of the italian parliament seats were occupied by women. As one of the very few women, Staller was a role model for her openness, her courage and strength.
The TV screen with the video is placed on a greenwhite-black image that is consisting of a collage of tree branches and acrylic nails.
Part 3: This Place
The red hand is threatening and seductive/attracting at the same time. What it represents is freely interpretable. The spoken text combines passages of Luki’s poem Digging Deep Manifesto and This House.
This house makes us think
Upstairs we fantasize
Downstairs we dig deep
We are coming to voice
Some of us are finding it
Some of us are strengthening their voice
And some of us are changing the tone of it
Our voices are elevated
The line „We Are Coming To Voice“ gives the installation its title.
Plexi glass stools
The see-through stools are filled with magazine and news paper articles about trans* identity told by the mass media. Next to modern and correct representation of trans* individuals (transgender, transsexual, non-binary, gender-nonconforming, and more) are wrongful and harmful depictions of gender identity. Articles and images about male and female gender roles/expectations, crossdressing, coming out stories and sensational news headlines.
This particular newspaper coverage has a long history of misrepresentation and stereotypes. The oldest document in the work is a protocol of the process against Eleno de Céspedes from 1587, who was a surgeon and accused of sodomy. De Céspedes is an early example of a known intersex and/or transgender person. The plexi glass stools are a personal and uncommented selection of a huge archival selection of newspaper coverage about trans* individuals.
Photos by Linda Inconi und Achim Kukulies / Kunstsammlung NRW