In Different Textures, we ask a number of questions, beginning with:
What does it mean to have a black person as a partner?
What does it mean to have a white person as a partner?
By deciding to each get our hair braided the same way, we engage directly with these questions as well as with the various uptakes/readings of the gender and sexual complexities between us. How does braiding our hair further implicate the ways that blackness is present in us as a multi-racial cuir couple?
The braids created greater legibility for Daniel as a trans light-skinned black person and marked an atravesamiento for Dani by taking on a “black” aesthetic marker as a conscious decision. With the same braids, one of us (Daniel) ended up looking more masculine and the other of us (Dani) ending up looking more feminine. Of note is these readings have no coherence with the way that we relate to one another and our various transits. What does it mean for Dani to read as more explicitly feminine for the first time in 15 years? What does it mean for Daniel to finally read as black after having to constantly legitimize his blackness for 27 years? What does it mean to call forth the presence of blackness and whiteness, gender and sexuality, as impure and multi-relational markers of both similarity and difference? How are we complicit in the ways we make these things manifest (and not) on our bodies and in our lives?
In the photograph below we stand on the intersection of a street called Rua de Mozambique in Bairro das Colonialas (Neighborhood of the Colonies) where we were working whilst in Lisbon. Mozambique being a Portuguese Colony, we are also gesturing towards the evidence of colonized blackness throughout the city.
Photo Performance by Dani d’Emilia & Daniel Chávez
Duration: 6 hours
Materials: Work clothes, camera, food and water for the session
Procedure: Find a hair braider. Get hair braided. Document other person.
This work was part of our residency at Roundabout.lx, Lisbon 2015