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MIRHA-SOLEIL ROSS is a transsexual video maker, performer, sex worker and animal rights activist born and raised in a poor francophone neighbourhood on the south shore of Montréal, Québec. Since moving to Toronto in 1992, she has produced over a dozen videos which have been screened at festivals internationally. As an activist, Mirha-Soleil worked from 1997-1999 with the staff at the 519 Community Centre to develop Meal-Trans, Toronto’s first publicly funded, multi-services program for low income and street

active transsexual and transgendered people. Also in 1997, she created Counting Past 2, a multi-disciplinary art festival dedicated to the promotion of work produced by local and international transsexual and transgendered artists. From 1996-2001, she hosted ANIMAL VOICES, a weekly animal rights radio show on CIUT 89.5 FM. She has been the recipient of several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and her video, Mateřština (co-directed with Mark Karbusicky), won the Marian McMahon Award at the 2004 Images Festival in Toronto.

 

“I have been producing videos about transsexuality since 1993. I have always seen my work as activist-oriented and as contributing to changing the terms of the conversations around transsexual issues. In addition, my video making has been motivated by my desire to contribute to the development of a small but radical body of work produced by a handful of transsexual film and video makers internationally. Until 1998, most of my videos were concerned with archiving transsexual histories while challenging audiences – particularly those from the lesbian, gay, and feminist communities – with uncensored and diverse representations of transsexual lives, sexualities, and political struggles. While such concerns were certainly noble, since 1997, my video work has become less and less about issues of representation and even less so about a duty to “give a voice to my community.” My focus has shifted to developing a visual language that articulates the joys and perils of living culturally, sexually, and spiritually in a transsexual body. I have no interest whatsoever in producing “objective” video documents. I am personally and politically involved with all of the issues and polemics my video work addresses and this partly explains why so much of it is elaborated from actual performance art pieces. By using performance interventions as points of departure to develop my videos, I end up producing work that is grounded in my body and that reflects a full engagement on my part.” Mirha-Soleil Ross

 

“He estat produint vídeos sobre la transsexualitat des del 1993. Sempre he considerat el meu treball des d’un punt de vista activista i com una contribució per canviar els termes de les converses sobre la qüestió de la transsexualitat. A més, el meu treball en vídeo ha estat motivat pel meu desig de contribuir al desenvolupament d’un marc modest però radical de pellícules i vídeos produïts per transsexuals arreu del món. Fins el 1998, la major part dels meus vídeos estaven relacionats amb la recopilació d’històries transsexuals alhora que desafiava les audiències, especialment de les comunitats lesbiana, gai i feminista, amb representacions diverses i sense censures de la vida i la sexualitat transsexuals amb una intenció militant clara. Malgrat què aquest compromís era realment noble, a partir del 1997, el meu treball en vídeo ha estat cada cop menys relacionat amb les qüestions de la representació i encara menys a la tasca de “donar la paraula a la meva comunitat”. El meu focus d’atenció s’ha desplaçat al desenvolupament d’un llenguatge visual que articulés les alegries i els riscos de viure culturalment, sexualment i espiritualment en un cos transsexual. Ja no tinc interès en produir vídeos que siguin un document “objectiu”. Jo estic involucrada personalment i políticament en totes les qüestions i polèmiques a les quals el meu treball en vídeo s’adreça, i això explica parcialment perquè la major part són elaborades a partir de performances. Utilitzant la performance com a punt de partida per desenvolupar els meus vídeos arribo a produir un treball que està profundament arrelat al meu cos i que reflexa un compromís total per part meva.” – Mirha-Soleil Ross

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