re(creating) gender is a web project submitted for the fall semester production course in my Digital and Interactive Storytelling MA at the University of Westminster. Its goal is to explore three trans artists' relationships with creativity through an interactive documentary presentation.
Project Concept
Creating documentary projects focused on transgender subjects is always difficult because normalised journalistic conventions can subtly reinforce transphobic ideas. Early in the ideation phase for this project, I read Julia Serano's Whipping Girl and Shon Faye's The Transgender Issue, which both emphasised this. At that point, I decided to design a project that would be focused on trans people, but not directly about transition or trans activism.
I decided early on that I would not shoot any video for this project as choosing to use solely still photos and audio aligns with my other choices to de-emphasise bodies and medical transition. It's unlikely that a viewer will look at a single photograph for five minutes straight, but a talking-head video asks viewers to do exactly that. In such a long period, it's easy to start noticing and subconsciously gendering mannerisms, poses, speech patterns, and appearance. This is natural in a society that normalises such a rigid gender binary, but it's ultimately distracting and unhelpful in communicating the experiences that I was interested in exploring in this project. For that reason, I see this as almost a strategic denial of information — I will not allow the viewer to see unconscious body mannerisms because they are not relevant. 

Working in Adobe XD, I initially considered having universal subtitles for the project because there would be ambient audio. Placeholder photos from my studio session with Romily Tang and Peggy Shen.

In time, it became clear that the better was to turn the audio into videos with baked in subtitles so that the only elements in the grid would be photos and videos that could be directly embedded into the site.

Multimedia Components

*I did not take this photo — it was submitted to be by the interviewee.*

Page Design
*I did not take this photo — it was submitted to me by the interviewee.*
*I did not take this photo — it was submitted to me by the interviewee.*
Visit the live site here.
View the GitHub repository here

Tattoo Studio Shoot:
Digital photos and video shot with Canon 6D.
35 mm photos shot with Canon EOS 750 SLR.
Photos edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
Audio recorded on Zoom H4N Pro with Audio-Technica Condenser AT8010 and edited in Adobe Audition.

Virtual Audio Interviews:
Photos submitted by interviewees.
Audio recorded in Zoom and edited with Adobe Audition.

Waveform videos created with Headliner.
HTML and CSS written in Brackets and hosted by GitHub Pages.
Back to Top