April 2021: Shopping the Body w/ H.P. Armstrong
“I am real when I shop my face” sings the chorus of “Faceshopping” by SOPHIE, pointing us toward self-examination, destruction, and recreation as an act of tapping into our humanity, our realness. At the edges of society and our senses of selves, there dwells the monster, the monstrous source of our fears and taboos. At the center of our selves there is the idealized, the angelic, the exalted. We exist somewhere in the middle, nor perfect, not monstrous. We can still explore the edges.
This workshop encourages the twisting and turning over of the body and self to discover new facets to write from because we are real when we examine, reexamine, tear apart, build up, birth, and destroy. With a focus on trans poetics, monster studies, and the genre of body, participants are welcomed to get messy with the self, persona, possible selves, future selves, fictional selves, character; we will dwell in the idealized and monstrous selves to discover what shells we can pick up, examine, and smash.
All genders are encouraged to participate in self-creation in all genres. We will create a non-judgemental space meant for the expansion of understanding of the body inside and out through writing and reading. We will shop through music, literature, image, and the graphic novel for the nuggets and tidbits we wish to apply to ourselves, even just for the time of workshop.
- We aim to examine the choices and not-choices we make as people, for our art, for our personas and characters, about our values in art, and how people make choices about all these things for us.
- We aim to challenge all of the choices and not-choices, make choices that are opposite, polarized in another direction, and run counter to our artistic values.
- We aim to exalt the idealized and monstrous self, both in the artist and the person behind the artist, and the characters/personas/subjects we as artists observe/select/make art about.
- We aim to make an attempt to rebirth and start anew, combine the composite parts to a new persona. Make new mistakes, create new altars, perhaps physical or metaphorical, to these new selves.
- We aim to exaggerate and diminish, perhaps all at once. Put a magnifying glass to the work and turn it around to make something new.
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement:
In matters of diversity and equity, I believe in listening, self-advocacy, and seeking knowledge. Assuming best intent doesn’t mean that people aren’t hurt; it means that everyone comes to the table knowing they need to learn about at least one other thing that they are not. Hierarchy means nothing to me, even as a facilitator I am not above those who are facilitated, which means that as a facilitator I am assuming everyone in my presence is seeking to learn the same as I am. I am a white queer trans man, with a variety of other intersections that are not visible. I believe it’s important to admit that I have made mistakes in the past with regards to equity. When we seek to learn, it is not about what we have done right, but where we can grow. In a classroom-like setting, it is my goal to not prevent microaggression, but to address it when it arrives. Playing the savior is not part of this goal, but a way to provoke conversation about what is equitable.
(Inspiration from: Faceshopping by SOPHIE)
Materials needed: Paper, pencil, or art materials of your choosing.
H.P. Armstrong is a trans and queer writer who hails from the Midwest, but lives in Colorado with his partner. He is a graduate of Naropa's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics with a BA in Creative Writing and Literature, as well as a graduate of Front Range Community College. His work has appeared in KYSO Flash's A Trembling of Finches, with Punch Drunk Press, Plains Paradox, and internationally with Nota Bene. His work primarily involves the beautifully grotesque and disenfranchisement of the body, along with his experiences as a destitute poor, queer, homeless young adult and as an ex-Mormon. He is working on his first novel handling themes of the consequences of religious abuse and the lack of knowledge of one's own body.
- This workshop runs from April 1, 2021 - April 30, 2021.
- Workshops consist of one video per week for each week in the month. Videos are 45-60 minutes long, and are shared on a private YouTube account.
- Class discussions are held via Slack.
- All readings, creative prompts, and shared artwork will be exchanged via a private Google Drive folder.
- All workshops are designed for you. Dedicate as much or as little time to the workshop per week as you'd like.
- This workshop is taught in English, but collective.aporia offers subtitles for the workshop videos in over 60 languages. If you have questions about language accommodations, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Collective.aporia believes in paying working artists fairly for their time and work. As a diverse international collective, we also believe strongly in valuing fair exchange—whether that be monetary, energetic, or otherwise.
Because of these beliefs, our workshop donations all begin at a $40 base rate with the option to give additional donation amounts, if you’re able. Seventy percent of the donations go to facilitator, and the remainder goes back into collective.aporia for operational expenses.
Participants also have the option to donate money towards the community scholarship, which provides opportunities to folks from these communities to attend workshops at no cost.
Please check out this page to learn more and/or apply for the scholarship.
We understand that not everyone has the financial means to donate $40. In the spirit of collaboration and exchange, we have developed a work exchange initiative that allows folks to choose what kind of work they would like to trade for free entry into the workshop. Examples of this work include writing blog posts, creating and sharing social media content, editing video subtitles, etc.
Thank you for your generosity!
[Image credit: Marloes Hilckmann]