​© 2014 - 2019 by Chelsea Thompto

Productive Bodies

Productive Bodies explores transgender identity in relation to questions of visualization as violence, technology in relation to the body, and how we conceive of the boundaries of the self. In order to explore more deeply these concepts, I am looking to another body caught up in similar questions, the river, more specifically: the Mississippi. The river I grew up next to, the Mississippi has long been subjected to technologies of seeing and modification in order to make it more productive for militaristic and economic purposes. Using archival maps and audio, found video, and original video and sound, this project draws the viewer into an affective exploration of what it means to inhabit a fluid body subjected to colonial logics of visualization meant to fix, delineate and, stabilize. 


The installations feature procedurally generated works, writings, artist books and more. Procedural generation in this case refers to a computer program written to layer video, video effects, and audio, all of which takes place in real time, drawing from a library of over 50 media files edited and curated for this installation. This creates an effectively infinite number of possible variations, resulting in the work having not specific beginning or end point but rather a focus on the perpetual and endless nature of the labor to organize, know, and fix that which is unknown, unproductive, misunderstood, and fluid.

The first installation of this work was on view at Able Contemporary Gallery from January 11th to March 3rd, more information can be found here:

https://www.abelcontemporary.com/in-the-cooler-thompto

The second installation of this work was on view at the Kohler Art Library from May 3rd through July 31st:

https://www.library.wisc.edu/art/exhibits/physical-exhibits/2019-2/productive-bodies-mfa-show/

Source code for this project can be found HERE.