Shifting Futures: Digital Trans of Color Praxis


Contemporary science fiction is full of these scenes of shifting from visible to invisible, from William Gibson’s Neuromancer with its Panther Moderns media terrorist organization and their mimetic polycarbon suits, to Ghost in the Shell’s thermoptic camouflage. These scenes can be understood as speculative design precursors to the nanotechnological efforts to create materials which can bend light in order create invisibility for soldiers, which made significant progress in March 2014.

What I am advocating is a strategy similar to Chela Sandoval’s differential consciousness, but deals more with the materialities that allow a shift from visibility to invisibility. Perhaps a close consideration of this flickering can aid in the project of locating trans women of color in women of color feminism. This essay uses methods from transgender studies, media studies and from the materialisms of Deleuze and Barad. In Metropolis, one can see multiple modes of modulating visibility, from femme camouflage to the performance of invisible disability to androids that pass as human, much like the drones that fly silently overhead.

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