CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: Body of Work, Body of Art

Transgendered Canadian performance artist Nina Arsenault has been characterized as cyborg, intellectual, and artist. After sixty plastic surgeries to feminize and beautify her originally male body, Arsenault has become an icon for a new queer generation. Her stage plays, electronic presence through videos disseminated online, website, blog, social networking presentation sites, her print media writing, and her celebrity/nightclub appearances as well as writings about her life and work alternately objectify and subjectify her: she is both artist and work of art.

Rejecting the binary of real versus fake and dedicated to exploring authenticity, Arsenault’s work continues to examine the relationship of the omnipresent female self within the newly constructed female body, while critics, theorists and documentarians continue to engage in an examination of the artist as art.

TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: Body of Work, Body of Art, to be published by Intellect Books Ltd, UK in 2012 will be edited by Judith Rudakoff. Included will be academic essays, critical response papers, popular media articles, Arsenault’s writing and colour photographs.

Submissions from the perspective of theatre, video, feminist theory, queer theory, gender studies, sexual diversity studies, performance studies, cultural studies, media studies, celebrity studies or any related areas are invited in the form of academic essays, critical response papers or popular media articles on topics which may include (but are not limited to):

  • Longing and Belonging: Authenticity versus Realness
  • Queer aesthetics: the art object as beautiful, erotic, satirical, subversive, comic, tragic, blashphemous and grotesque.
  • Superstar reproduction: Nina Arsenault and the manufacturing of celebrity
  • Double vision: The masculine gaze in the art of Nina Arsenault’s femininity.
  • Transgressing acceptable trans-narratives: return to normative society or failed tragic queen
  • The artist as art
  • The intersections of vocal training and dramaturgy in the solo theatrical artist
  • Arsenault’s self-portraiture in the digital age of self-representation and self-dissemination
  • The democratization of social networking and the sexually discriminated artist: Arsenault’s Facebook site as installation.
  • Palatable empathies: Narratives of Nina Arsenault’s transformation on television and in the theatre
  • Titillation, ornamentation and the ritualized body: The art of geisha vs. the transsexual gay nightlife hostess
  • Mythology vs pathology: a crossroads for the queer artist?
  • Chasing the Real from inside the labyrinth of postmodern deconstructivism(s)
  • Blasphemous iconography: creating art that complicates the world instead of trying to save it.
  • Heretic transmissions: Nina Arsenault and the politics of the right and the left

Please direct all proposals and queries to Judith Rudakoff, Editor on or before September 30 2010. Essays, papers and articles selected for publication (subject to final peer review) must be received on or before February 1, 2011. For academic essays selected for publication, reading copies of Silicone Diaries or I Was Barbie will be made available for consultation.

Proposals of up to 500 words (academic essays) and up to 250 words (critical response papers or popular media articles) should be accompanied by a brief biographical statement (in Microsoft Word .doc or .rtf format) and covering email note should include your name, any affiliation, preferred email contact information.

Academic essays should be between 3000-5000 words and critical response papers and popular media articles should be between 500-1500 words.

Prospective contributors may consider source material such as but not exclusive to:

  • The Silicone Diaries, stage play
  • I Was Barbie, stage play
  • “Glamour Crack”, series of videos produced by Nina Arsenault
  • Video representation of Nina Arsenault on YouTube
  • Nina Arsenault’s website and blog:
  • T Girl columns for Fab Magazine (archived electronically at
  • Publicity Archive (up to December 2009), housed in Clara Thomas Special Collections and Archives, Scott Library, York University, Toronto, Ontario. (File TPC 220)
  • Club/party hosting, celebrity appearances as Nina Arsenault
  • Appearances as fictional characters (Barbie at L’Oreal Fashion Week 2009 in Toronto, Jessica Rabbit)
  • Television appearances in Canada (including The Jon Dore Show (Comedy Network), Kink (Showcase), Train 48 (Global), Fashion Television and Sex Matters (CITY) )

— Judith Rudakoff, Editor TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: Body of Work, Body of Art