A BEAUTIFUL OUTTAKE FROM MY SPREAD IN THE CURRENT ISSUE OF GARMENTO SHOT BY THE INIMITABLE MILAN ZRNIC AND STYLED BY JEREMY LEWIS
❀JULIANA HUXTABLE❀ FOR #CURLPOWER BY SIMON FORTIN
BREAST SO SOFT, BODY SO TIGHT BY KEVIN JZ PRODIGY
CHECK OUT MY BOO KIMBERLY DREW’S FEATURE ON AFROPUNK FEATURING WORK BY CHRISTOPHER UDEMEZUE AND JULIANA HUXTABLE
As a friend I find it compelling that you are transitioning self in many ways. Can you elaborate further however casual or in depth about your play on the idea of the name Huxtable, in light of your mid 20’s moment into this version of your self-hood?
Huxtable is the surname that was gifted to me by my house (non-biological queer family). My imagination has a wounded attachment to the fantasies of a black American aristocracy - the collective energy of post-civil rights era black youth who had been gifted a sense of entitlement to ascend into the American middle and upper-middle class. The Huxtable family (from the Cosby Show) represented a very specific and powerful moment that I was raised in the spirit of. At the same time, I am a product of the contemporary economic reality and am witnessing the financial and aspirational foundations for those fantasies rapidly decline and decay. Theres an audacity in claiming the name, and it has animated in my work and self a sense of regality. Much of what I fear as someone who is transitioning is being disenfranchised of what most people take for granted - desirability, respectability, employability, safety, etc. My name is my armor and its an agency to create myself in the image I see fit. Its an insistence on the validity of my claim to those previously listed rights, and its a vessel that liberates my creative energies from the burden of a misgendered past. I’m in a very bizarre and transitory state in my life at the moment, but that name has helped me persist. I remember when you asked me how I wanted to be credited for the piece I wrote for Life Is Juicy, I was made aware for the first time that I had taken on a new voice, one that represented the nexus of independence, change in community, hormone replacement, etc. that Im experiencing.
I remember asking Antonio Blair and Adam Radokovich (Founders of House of Ladosha) about the origins of the name LaDosha. They said it came about when watching Ghetto Brawl DVD’s and the namesake was a fighter that was always willing to fight even though she lost every single time. Aside from the Sisyphean analogy I found this rather touching and I deeply relate to the pathos of that character. Often when synthesizing your image and your dress I find it very compelling as if you’re a woman from another dimension. What visions of yourself, characters or otherwise do you find yourself meditating upon?
When someone asks me how identify, my response is always, "cyborg, cunt, priestess, witch, nuwaubian princess". I've been afforded the opportunity to reimagine myself, my history, my place of origin, etc in multiple ways. It was first through moving to New York and immersing myself in nightlife that I discovered that potential. It was there that I became close to Adam and Antonio and Christopher (Udemezue), and they became my family - we have entire mythologies for our habits, rituals, dress and language. We all have a character, or multiple, and the narratives we thrive on intersect and strengthen each other. My house and the nightlife we are part of has become a ground for experimenting with and elaborating new ways of expressing myself - be they aesthetic or performative. My transition has been a constant source of inspiration because its opened my potential for self-conception in ways that many people only experience once during adolescence. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of science fiction and theology. Canonizing myself as a Nuwaubian deity in an alternate future or from a planet where sexual dimorphism is nonexistent - these sorts of ideas have become the basis for how I dress, speak, dance and write, and the characters they give birth to have become an integral party of my selfhood.
In your writing I find it uncanny in the ways you present your subjectivity in cadence and tone. I find it often aggressive and tenacious in its observations but ultimately profoundly sophisticated and poetic. Are you working towards any projects with writing further and also what subjects do you find elicit and enrage you: topical, deeply, both, neither?
My writing is a pastiche of all the ways I express myself in static text – theoretical/academic, poetic , tweeting, facebook statuses (perhaps my favorite), tumblr/blog posts, commenting on media sites... I treat them all as equally ripe with potential for engaging an idea or concept in text. The multiple sublanguages that exist here in the city have also influenced me. Just within the communities that you and I share membership in, the wit, breadth and precision of the languages that we all create together is shocking. HAM, shock value, rage, soft-serve, boop, etc - these are words that have a completely different meaning or none at all to most people, but they're legible by way of the referential world we've created that protects them. The work of using, expanding, archiving this language is done mostly through text shared via social media. My goal is to take the dispositions one might have when tweeting or blogging or writing in a journal and elaborate them into entangled extended metaphors. I just finished a set of text fragments for the next issue of Garmento, I'm working on a show of all my text-based pieces and will be doing a reading/performance at BAM in June. I'm hoping to collaborate more as well, as I find that the work of my friends is a huge inspiration and a way to see how our imaginative worlds intersect or collide.