Transgendering-assemblages: Sin Wai Kin’s trans techniques and acts of boybanding

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This article investigates the artist Sin Wai Kin’s (單慧乾) speculative approach to drag through the prism of ‘transgendering-assemblages’. Influenced by the assemblage theory of Manuel DeLanda and Jasbir Puar, I propose that transgendering-assemblages actualize the properties of transness (Marquis Bey) through particular trans techniques (Grace E. Lavery). I introduce Sin’s more-than-human trans techniques, from make-up to costume, and approach to nonbinary storytelling to investigate identity assemblages more broadly. With explicit attention to their engagement with Chinese opera and Taoism, the speculative boyband in Sin’s Turner Prize nominated work It’s Always You (2021) prompts my proposal for ‘boybanding’ as a technique for investigating identity assemblages. The final section is focused on the genderings of East Asian masculinities in Sin’s work to argue how all gender-assemblages are also ‘racializing assemblages’ (Alexander G. Weheliye). I conclude with a provocation on what assemblage as a nonbinary concept (defined by what it does rather than what it is) can offer studies of gender.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-97
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Studies in Fashion and Beauty
Issue number1
Early online date7 May 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

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