Coded Queer Project

Coded Queer is a series of short dance films and writing responses created as part of my research for the Interdisciplinary Research Studio course in the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design at The Ohio State University. This project explores the embodiment of code-switching and signaling through a queer lens and is a collaboration between Performer/Choreographer and Director/Facilitator. As the director and facilitator, I spent time in the studio with my collaborators reflecting on our lived experiences with gender expression, sexual identity, and sexual orientation. We examined the choreographic possibilities of code-switching and signaling in regards to queer identity, and took an auto-ethnological approach to creating material. This project is an iteration of my larger MFA research project which examines how queerness is performed, the function of queer spaces, and the importance of queer representation in dance.

The films below are the culmination of the material the dancers created while in the rehearsal and research process. They were asked to create short movement phrases inspired by writing prompts and then together we edited them into their final phrase. Each dancer has also submitted a written element for this iteration which comes from the writing prompts used in the research and rehearsal process.

For more information about the process, check out my blog post here.

Maddie Denman


Coded Queer – Maddie from John Cartwright on Vimeo.

A Recipe for Bisexuality:
a sliding scale ratio of the spectrum of gender identity and presentation
a big cup of never knowing if your presented label is "correct"
1/2 cup always surprising others with your identity and stories
1 Tablespoon misunderstood
1 Tablespoon surprise 
1/2 cup too gay
1/2 cup too straight
1 cup just right

Mira Shah


Coded Queer – Mira from John Cartwright on Vimeo.

Words and phrases that appeared often in writing prompts:
Look good, feel good, perception 
be ugly, feel weird, pretend
disappear, fit in

Kate Fishman


Coded Queer – Kate from John Cartwright on Vimeo.

Word list taken from writing prompts:
- free
- social expectations/ standards 
- labels 
- expected vs accepted 

Jess Kulp


Coded Queer – Jess from John Cartwright on Vimeo.

A selection of responses to writing prompts about identity, code-switching, and signaling:
Performing a tired, surface-level, one-dimensional character
Misrepresenting myself 
For the comfort of others, for a surface-level acceptance

Which version of me would you prefer today?

Performing a genuine human experience 
Representing something close to truth
For my own comfort, for acceptance and self-acceptance 

Isabelle Johnston


Coded Queer – Isabelle from John Cartwright on Vimeo.

Recipe for Isabelle Style Bisexuality and Identity
Prep time: 19 years and counting
Servings: 1
My identity relies on a foundation of small town romanticism and warped sense of what it means to dream big. This contradiction and process of learning my faults and missing pieces to my understanding of the world gives me texture. This texture also comes from my unappealing traits that I have a strange bond with: my abrasiveness, my stubbornness, my sensitivity, my individuality, my perceived individuality. These are all things that have caused me internal and external struggles, and yet I refuse to let them go, likely to appease my individuality complex, a vital ingredient of mine that manifests in a desire to be understood accompanied by a resistance to it. In fact, much of what I am includes the flawed person I realistically want to be and yet know that I am not fully. Much of who I am is built on this perfectly imperfect, almost mythical figure, along with the fear that I am, in actuality, so very distant from it.
It is in my nature to be resistant to definition, and yet I find myself craving it. However, I respect myself too much to deny me this fascination:
★ 3 pints of perceived self-assuredness
★ 1 cup of straight-passing privilege
★ 3 cups of white privilege
★ 3 table spoons of obsession with aesthetics
★ 2 cases of attraction to women, femininity, androgyny, and female masculinity    
★ 3 cups of lesbian questioning                                                                                         ★ 2 servings of gender envy                                                                                                ★ 1 pint of confusion                                                                                                                ★ add fluidity until smooth                                                                                                    ★ pinch of attraction to men (optional)
%d bloggers like this: