Museum, Musex, Mutext, Mutant: Giuseppe Campuzano’s Transvestite Machine

Miguel A López, chief curator of TEOR/éTica, Costa Rica, talks about institutional critique in Latin America.

More than a decade ago the Peruvian philosopher and drag queen Giuseppe Campuzano (Lima, 1969) created the ephemeral project called Museo Travesti del Perú (Transvestite Museum of Peru). Founded in 2004, the museum was an attempt at a queer counter-reading and promiscuous intersectional thinking of history, one that collected objects, images, texts and documents, press clippings, and appropriated artworks in order to propose actions, stagings, and publications that would fracture the heterosexual spatio-temporality and the dominant models of production of bodies.

The project, halfway between performance and historical research, proposed a critical revision of the so-called 'history of Peru' from the strategic perspective of a fictional figure he called the 'androgynous indigenous / mestizo transvestite.' Campuzano, and indeed all the museum’s operations, demonstrated a profound distrust of the apparent transparency of images that lay claim to social representation, instead deploying the transvestite strategic gesture as the possibility of betraying their meanings and subverting their uses in the public sphere. There is no other truth in these signs than the processes of transformation and dis-identification through which one body can become another. No other reality exists than their frauds and displacements. A new, more fabulous and joyous truth emerges from this very artifice.

In Collaboration with GASWORKS, London.

Miguel A. López (Lima, 1983) is a writer, researcher, and Chief Curator of TEOR/éTica and Lado V in San Jose, Costa Rica. His work investigates collaborative dynamics and transformations in the understanding of and engagement with politics in Latin America in recent decades. His work also focuses on queer re-articulations of history from a Southern perspective. He has recently curated Teresa Burga. Estructuras de aire (with Agustín Pérez Rubio) at the MALBA, Buenos Aires (2015), the section God is Queer for the 31 Bienal de São Paulo (2014), Losing Human Form. A seismic image of the 1980s in Latin America (with Red Conceptualismos del Sur) at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2012-2013), and Pulso Alterado at the MUAC-UNAM, Mexico City (2013).

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