CHARLOTTE STREET FOUNDATION STUDIO RESIDENCY PROGRAM

Charlotte Street Foundation identifies the needs and fuels the evolution of an ever-changing multidisciplinary arts ecosystem, acting as its primary provocateur. We cultivate the contemporary, the exceptional, and the unexpected in the practice of artists working in and engaging with the Kansas City Art Community

Free-falling

There comes a time in your life when you must push yourself out of your comfort zone, and take flight. But as anyone who has taken that leap knows, there is the risk of falling and hitting the surface at full force. Because before you catch the wind, you must realize that you are in free-fall.

Hitchcock, the master of suspense, often illustrated the fear and actualization of falling in a lot of his films. In the most obvious example, Vertigo, the lead character Scottie has an extreme fear of heights and suffers dizziness because of a police chase gone horribly wrong. He later tragically loses a lover (or two) by watching them fall to their untimely death. In Rebecca, a lady saves a wealthy man from falling off a cliff in a suicide attempt, marries him in a whirlwind romance, and is tempted to jump out of an open window by the jealous housekeeper later on in the film. In Shadow of a Doubt, the villain is pushed out of a moving train; In Strangers on a Train, the villain falls from a rapidly moving carousel; in North by Northwest, off of Mount Rushmore.

Why is the suspended frame-by-frame of falling so horrifying? Because falling suggests the impending doom that seems most inevitable: death. But I want to extract this even further, in the metaphorical representation of falling. Because to fall induces the anticipation that we won’t rise, that we might fail. As the master of suspense put it, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.”

Therein lies the cornerstone of my craft: the anticipation. As a queer person in today’s modern world there’s a constant backlash, a constant erasure of one’s identity, especially that of the transfemme individual. With the public visibility of being an amab (assigned male at birth) femme, the backlash and erasure is the rejection of identity throughout society: not being taken seriously when it comes to dating, finding a job, getting access to healthcare, basic civil rights, and even just walking down the street. There is a constant threat, a constant danger. The anticipation that I could do great things with my art, my voice, and my visibility is also the greatest threat to my character, my livelihood, and my life.

A big part of my lyrical content and mood I create with backing music, lighting, and visuals centers around the horrors of anticipating, and actualizing the failure of, being normal through the queer experience. Like perpetually in free-fall, like the MacGuffin of believing there is a safe landing, the object of affection being nothing but a tongue-in-cheek allusion to the real problems of society: How could I possibly feel normal?

I am free-falling. I’m taking another chance to put myself out there in hope to glide with the wind, clash with the times, and change the culture. I have to take responsibility in my visibility, and take action. In partnership with other profound transfemme artists I have established a queer / trans electronic collective called UN/TUCK. Our mission is to create a platform for marginalized voices and to elevate the community through music. Because while there may be no safe landing, there is elevation, a collection of voices rising.

I am free-falling. I’m taking this opportunity and running with it, to jump off the cliff and soar into the new Awakening. To accept every possible outcome of the darkness before the Awakening, the horror and the difficulties of life that await me, is the essential part of success. My voice echoes throughout time, as Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera handed me the torch to pass on to a newer generation, I have jumped from the threshold into uncharted territory. A brave move, you might say? Perhaps. But a chance to change the perspectives of my community and the whole of society? Definitely.

-Mazzy Mann

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This entry was posted on January 7, 2018 by in Uncategorized.

Charlotte Street Foundation

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