Body By Body
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TG-30 is a collection of thirty very short stories about dramatic transformations. An American art bro in Berlin becomes Ellen DeGeneres. A corrupt mp3 turns the guy who downloads it into Katy Perry. An entire police squad sprouts breasts. A banker becomes a skanker. The changes are abrupt, inexplicable, and irreversible. Body by Body (Melissa Sachs and Cameron Soren) were inspired by the gender-switch stories they found in the fanfic forums of DeviantArt, where teens shares their body-morphing fantasies, as well as the transformation boards of older fetish sites. Social platforms like these are incubators for communities that kaleidoscope gender identity. In the stories that proliferate there, the body-mind split that has pervaded the Western imagination for so long gets swapped for a constantly negotiated dialogue between body and soul, rich in potential energy. It’s fitting that this queerness has become visible on the internet, which makes personhood malleable by dislocating and dispersing the self across networks. Online connections are rarely as neat and pristine the white spaces of Google might lead one to think; in the field studied by Body by Body, the fascination with erogenous zones, their fluids, and their fantastic fluidity implicitly likens the digital traces left by online communication to the body’s abject reality. The stories of TG-30, like the forum fiction they pay tribute to, imagine a body as instantly changeable as a jpeg.
-- Brian Droitcour