“there are two chairs and a person in between them. there is fabric, meters of it, going from the left chair to the right, the person cuts holes in the fabric to tie it around their upper body, getting more and more entangled as the process continues. by the sheer elastic force of the fabric, the chairs enclose around the body, making movement uncomfortable. the performer struggles to continue but again and again decides to go another round. the struggle is palpable, even ridiculous at times, and elicits discomfort in the viewer too. the video ends with the performer resting against their arm, stuck and exhausted.

this video piece is the result of a process that started with my wish to make a perfect binder.

a binder is a clothing article transmasculine people use to bind their chest, to minimise the appearance of their chest. the description, and the name of the garment itself, imply a kind of erasing, a hiding away. i do not want to write about the trans body as trapped, and yet the resulting video piece seems to be the pinnacle of entrapment. maybe it is less about being trapped, and more about moulding. a desire to mould your body to your wishes and thereby surpassing any reasonable measure until it is achieved. that is also maybe why seeing the constant struggle of the performer might bring out laughter; it is obvious that they are taking it too far, their struggle is in vain.

to the audience it might be obvious, but for many a trans person it is the quotidian. we abuse our bodies into something we could live with; we bind it, tape it, cinch it, attach silicone to it, shave it, make it bigger, make it smaller, and we don’t see a way around it. the performers determination to keep going comes from a conviction that what they are doing is inevitable, non-negotiable. often at the expense of their physical health, trans people mould themselves every day because there is simply no other option.

but back to the origin of this piece; the perfect binder.the shape of the binder hasn’t seen much innovation since its conception probably, and it’s a very straightforward design. a binder is usually in the shape of a singlet, if it was cut off at the waist, and made from two layers of spandex. my drive was to make it more suitable for my own body, to try to apply my knowledge of lingerie and bra’s (essentially made for the same body type, but with a different purpose) to make a binder that would finally do for me what i need it to do. i found it ridiculous that lingerie-making involves so much knowledge and expertise about what bodies need, and how to best support them, and that none of this knowledge has been used to make something more fitting for the big diversity of bodies that choose to use binders. my original design was a garment with two steps; first a divider of the breasts, pushing them underneath the armpits (similar to the function of the underwire in a bra) and then a layer that covers the breasts and pushes them down, the same as any binder.

within the production of my design i realised that both the fabric i was using and the way one would have to put the garment on weren’t practical to achieve my goal. on the other hand, the resulting garment was fascinating in its complicated shape, and the multi-step application made for an interesting image on the person trying to put it on. i decided to leave behind my perfect binder and instead to follow the interesting aspects of it i found on my way, and i started to experiment with it as a performance.

as we speak i have still not made the final garment and the performance that goes with it, but i am leaving it open to maybe become something even more different than expected. and the perfect binder will hopefully come to me one day.”