More than a decade ago, the Peruvian philosopher and drag queen Giuseppe Campuzano (Lima, 1969-2013) created the project Línea de vida / Museo Travesti del Perú [Life’s Timeline / Transvestite Museum of Peru]. This museum is an attempt to present a queer counternarrative: a promiscuous, intersectional thinking of history that collects objects, images, texts and documents, press clippings and appropriated artworks, and proposes actions, stagings and publications that fracture the dominant models of production of images and bodies. The project, halfway between performance and historical research, proposes a critical reviewing of the ‘History of Peru’ from the strategic perspective of a fictional figure Campuzano calls the ‘androgynous indigenous/mixedrace transvestite’. Here, transgender, transvestite, transsexual, intersexual and androgynous figures are posited as the central actors and main political subjects for any construction of history.
Unlike large institutional projects and their discourses of authority, this nomadic museum does not attempt to ‘represent’ and integrate minorities into the dominant discourses of progress and happiness. It is, rather, a deliberately artificial device that dramatises official histories and fractures the privileged site of heterosexual subjectivity – a subjectivity that turns all difference into an object of study and renders invisible its own contingency and the social processes that led to its constructions. This mobile condition also refers to several other transits and movements, such as the mass return-exodus from the provinces to the capital and forms of migration through other invisible subjects whose lives are permanently suspended (the HIV-positive, the undocumented immigrant, those sexually undefined…). The museum’s portable condition – its ability to function as a parasite to any scenario, from public squares, street markets and neighbourhood fairs, to university conferences – has also allowed it to question forms of orthodox activism, proposing instead an amorphous and elusive political subject.
The Museo Travesti del Perú functions as an experimental wager that vandalises classical theory and history through an irreverent rewriting of transversal imaginaries, referents and knowledges, for a subject unable and unwilling to fit in any existing taxonomy. – MAL