New moonscape

Tāwhanga PhD final performance

Image credit – Ngāwai Smith (Marketing and Communications Advisor for the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato)

Ok, i’m sitting at the kitchen table looking out over the lake. It’s sunny but also windy and I’m sending out the good vibes for a summer that seems waaay long overdue. This year’s winter was one of discontent, the content dis-associative in that I was able to make a break from the past that kept me in stasis.

The moon is new and growing fuller as the moments pass, calming these new waters as they escape from beyond their dammed flow. Time to grow, progress and prosper.

I had my second job interview for my dream job. I am praying each day that I get it because instead of planning for the future I can start living the future into existence.

I’m a doctor now lol.

I had my final performance and oral examination last week and the experiences were powerfully transformative. It was good to make performance art in the manner I most love – occupying a cold space and making it into one where I feel safe to live at my best and sometimes too my worst. Performance art, especially guerrilla performance art is amazing in its ability to awaken people to the ideas spaces hide. The ideas hidden in spaces are made manifest through unspoken rules about how to behave –  these become the foundation for our norms. In the art I enacted last week, I simply mapped out a common space that people have to move through on campus at the University of Waikato. I used 3 large adhesive images, shells, condoms and random things from my room like earrings, toothpaste, superglue and necklaces to create patterns on cobblestones. Once I had marked out my space, I then spent time cutting the images up to create an assemblage whilst singing and dancing. Really, I was just performing my ‘happy place’ – the mindset I occupy when I’m in the zone making art. The performance lasted about four hours.

The feedback was really great and the following day at my oral exam, those present remarked that it spoke directly to the themes of my research. It feels weird to have a PhD. I am still processing it. I think about all the amazing places, the self-discoveries, the lessons learned and the figuring out of political processes that have underpinned (and undermined) my PhD journey. I think about the life of a fucked-up, trashed tranny who spent all those nights in dark dark spaces, waiting for death. I think about the tears that seldom fall from my eyes because I have been too robotic to emote. I think about a lot of pain. It feels weird to have a PhD and to feel alive, vital and empowered at the intersection of academia and art. For me, making sense of those two things has helped me make sense of all the other intersections my body occupies – Māoritanga, New Zealander, same-sex attracted, transgender, living with HIV, drug addict, alcoholic, rape survivor, suicidal tendencies, depressive and impoverished.

It’s pretty powerful that a person with all those markers can write a PhD thesis to grow new space at the unique intersection of many oppressions. Maybe that’s my journey in this life, to give life where before there only felt like death.

It’s hard to look back and feel equally happy and sad, but great art is about contradictory tension.

I’m a mother-fucken doctor betches!!!

Horizon

Awaken afresh a fresh start, art is the awa through which my energy engages it’s flow. I flew a million miles to get here, neither a him nor her, a hermit heretic hell-bent on healing harm…arm myself with aroha.

The New Zealand elections were last night. It looks as though we will have the same government agenda continue and yet amplify it’s dangerous and colonizing intent. The decision-maker is a well known bigot and blamer of Māori, even though he is Māori.

It’s time for Māori to truly commit to the vitality our ancestors have gifted us over aeons and refuse this process to progress. We will see a regression in policies and a return to tactics that seek to wipe us out. We must remember the 70s and 80s when we protested this country the fuck out it’s reverie.

Battle strategy tactics on the streets, in boardrooms, in classrooms, in conferences, in courtrooms and in council chambers.

Challenge the process, deny it and utilise the wairua of te ao marama to bring back the light to our hearts in this world of deadened emotions!

I feel fuller than ever before in my life…so this is what it is like to feel good?

I have been flying all over the country lately, every week somewhere different spreading my art research.

I received my thesis examiner’s reports last Monday. They are both epic. I have my oral exam and final exhibition-performance in a few weeks. I am going to rock my art like never before. I have joined a gym and been training my body like the  beautiful androgynous muther-fucker I am, as often as I am able. Three weeks already and I look sleek and dangerous.

Swim fly run rings around the burning sun. Time to get up for kapa haka practice.

Get up

image

Wake up you

Get golden hued

Find the fitness

Meet the witness

Magic in the middle

You do the math

Cement the path

Time to solve the riddle

Today I’m doing things simply. This week has been dramatic but I’m firmly grounded regardless.

In 5 days I’m handing my PhD thesis in. Just a few little edits left and off to the printers on Monday. I gotta get some paid work done too, so that I can afford to pay for the printing lol.

The head of Native Studies in Arizona wants me to go there and help them set up a creative practice PhD program. That’s a job for this week, beginning that discussion and looking for funding. I’d like to go for a year.

I submitted a few abstracts this week. One was on barriers to healthcare access for transgender Māori, the other was on kaupapa Māori creative strategies to empower the HIV sector.

I have been cray emailing cuators and scholars all over the world during the past week as well. I think there needs to be a Takatāpui/Two Spririt gathering in 2019, with a focus on creative practice and relational strategies toward healing our land, communities and futures.

I don’t care that I’m a black, hairy, HIV positive fucking tranny who’ll never get the chop cos I love my dick.

I’m guna change the world.

Island time

You are the volcano, full of lava and firey eruptions – untouchable and yet I can’t help but want to put my fingers in you to see how you feel…will I get burned so badly the pain will last forever?

I am the ocean, turbulent with mixed currents – chill and inviting…you want to dive into me but are afraid you will drown, that I will suffocate you in my airless surge.

If only we could hold each other without our senses, it’s senseless to get sentimental – mentally taxing as the moon above us waxes and wanes our moments lived caressing each other’s songs in harmony.

There is an island where we meet.

At first it was just a clump of rocks, clinging for breath as we both poured forth…each day it has grown, grounding itself, giving life and space to love.

We hover there, no fear – it dissapates, dissolving into glitter that becomes the kind of magic that inspires…our island is art. We make, creating pictures and movements, cementing a future of goodness for all our relations.

Hold your head high above the clouds my baby, you are regal beyond belief…I’ll lie low in my books and words, charting darkened terrains for the hidden treasures we can share when we meet in thoughts producing actions, action to thought.

Wow…genderfluid loving at its best.