Project Indigo

In January 2019 I ran three workshops with Project Indigo, a queer youth group, looking at the ways we move between dysphoria (discomfort and fear in our bodies) and euphoria (comfort and joy in our bodies). I asked each young person to design and build a puppet that represented their ideal gender and then they animated them moving from a place of dysphoria to one of euphoria. As inspiration we used Travis Alabanza’s poem: “I take a selfie before I go outside to remind myself of /How I looked in that moment./ To remind myself that it is not me who is the problem,/ more the world that cannot hold me.” This was read alongside Rae Spoon’s song “I hear them calling about a group of trans people staging a protest party in a public bathroom. We also used a series of prompts borrowed from Linda Stupart’s workshop “I want to show you a body” to get them thinking outside of normal constraints – these included:

  • What kind of body does your character have?
  • Does your character have a gender? What makes them that gender?
  • Are they fat or thin? Why?
  • Do they have a race? What is it? Why?
  • How many arms or legs do they have?
  • Do they have a tail?
  • Can they see? And how?
  • Have they always looked like this or have they had experiences that have changed their looks?

The workshop produced a wide range of characters including: a sentient donut, an eagle, a drag queen mermaid, a puppet reading Bell Hooks, an anime character with a pet ferret…

Then we thought about how we move and hold our bodies in different spaces and around different people and drew storyboards of our characters moving from a position of euphoria to one of dysphoria.

In the final workshop we animated the puppets against a green screen, I stitched together all the gifs into the animation below. I also used the models in my graduation film Eyes.