No 3 (71) 2007
July - September

moRgan Barbara Konopka

Black Kami Transgender

Mind is a womb. When female mind is awakening – angels are born. New human body is born out of mind depths. Out of the frozen sea, out of the crystal foam, the new Aphrodite is born. The black-and -white earth and the sea of crystals dissolve into the colorful sky, while moRgan and veriKami, two human Energies, gathering speed on roller skates, make the wind blow. This is a several meters photograph entitled “The Neubirth of Venus Neurenika”.

Jerzy Truszkowski

B. in 1961. Visual artist and curator of exhibitions by the 70’s and 80’s new vanguard artists. As of 1992 he has cooperated with the Art Exhibitions Bureau Bielska Gallery in Bielsko-Biała, as an artist and curator.

Jerzy Truszkowski

IN KOJIKI1) a couple of demiurges watch their bodies and notice the difference as compared to the neutral state. The "Excessive" and "Inappropriate". The issue is not that it is appropriate to develop excessively, it is appropriate to develop to reach a neutral state. The Energies developed, the one in excess, the other - not enough in a certain place. They observe their bodies and deicide to use the difference for procreation. They could have developed other way round.

Mythological Energies do not identify themselves with any sex, though they accept it. They form a culture gender through performance. The first, failed and deserted result of procreation - in this myth story - has been considered an error in performance. It failed because the woman spoke first. There was no mistake in a sexual intercourse, though it was proceeded by wrong behavior. An error at the gender level, not at the sex level. The so far neutral text conveys a patriarchal content: a male is to speak first.

At the very beginning of the Kojiki, in the Blue Skies, there appears the trinity of Energies, the first being the Master maintaining the primeval chaos. Subsequent couples of Energies are contradicting this patriarchal inertia of chaos, giving the highest commandment to the first couple willing to procreate: "you shall make this drifting land calm, hard and perfect".2) The commandment Japanese men and women have since observed. I witnessed this on an automatic, crewless train car that took me to the world largest, artificial sea island near the city of Kobe, where I lived for three months in 1992.

Male and female characters have been equally present in the Japanese myths; both men and women have taken part in church rituals. Truly, women do not speak first, but they meet to chat to their girlfriends, while men are at work. After they get married, women give up their jobs, choosing a role in a game played on a social scene. Men usually work for the same company all life. Japanese society has, certainly, a patriarchal structure. Instead of showing a dynamic and innovative approach, they rather follow and im-prove foreign solutions (from the Chinese characters, to American hi-tech). As in Poland, women do not cover their faces and are not forced to keep their mouth shut. The same refers to the gay community, while characteristic features of the Japanese culture include awareness of the relative nature and instability of playing sex and gender roles. Men take female parts in the traditional theater. Being a woman, or playing a female role, is not an affront to the dignity, while in Poland it happens to be.

At the National Museum in Kyoto, I have noted a long development of ceramics which ended with cups with highly elaborated, openwork handles, then a return to very simple forms, followed again by complex shapes. The primeval Japanese culture has developed for 10 thousand years, while the continental invasion happened about 2,5 thousand years ago.

The Japanese, having weapons made of harder metal, conquered and gradually pushed out Aino people, who 400 years ago had occupied the whole Hokkaido island and now Russian Sachalin. Possibly, the Japanese borrowed some elements of culture from Aino. Kami, the key word for the mythology was translated as spirit, god, power. If the term kami has been taken from the language of the people who had developed earlier their civilization, it can define an older, more universal grasp of the world. The grasp and feeling, going as far as feeling the knife in one's own belly, sunk there with one's own hand. The body being something existing, regardless of one's will and wish, simultaneously the will and wish are capable of changing or annihilating the body. A certain person wished to modify his body. She felt female but a part of her body had been "excessively developed". She has changed her first and last name, while her body has been modified. Intentionally, she has adopted a new name of veriKami, referring to the Japanese mythology, where every character is called Kami, additionally having a complicated first name.

The linguistic research by Kotański indicates that Kami means energy or energy donor, something personal in the body. Something or rather someone universal, while maintaining individual features. It is hard to determine, if the individual traits are defined by what we traditionally call spirit, or rather by what we visually recognize as a body, since "each type of behavior of the matter is a form of its vitality which is granted to objects by certain types of existence, as a rule spiritual, partly independent of the object they control"3).

In the Japanese mythology, Kami perform their sex roles to observe the highest commandment ordering Kami to inhabit certain locations. The first Kami couple choosing sexual procreation begot islands, and ever since, people "have been making them hard and perfect". VeriKami improves the world writing computer programs, and her friend moRgan Barbara Konopka makes photographs. Two energies in two bodies are cooperating and competing as the Kami couples in the Japanese mythology. Yizanagi and Yizanami, two Japanese energies looked at their bodies and stated that they adopted a male or female form. This statement was a result of inspecting oneself and the partner. The energies realized that - thanks to their bodies - they can play sex roles and more generally, gender roles.

VeriKami knows the conventional of roles, and the fact that they are imposed by these who hold power. Assigning names is a form of exercising power. Defining roles is a form of power. VeriKami knows that she has to play roles, whether she likes it or not, but she does not want to identify with them. She would rather use them to her benefit, for example a female role. She calls her own approach transgenderism.

Yizanagi becomes Yizanami knowing that it is a mere game played on the stage of the world, and a game played in front of herself on the stage of own Energy. The Kojiki text says that after Yizanami died, Yizanagi visited the underworld searching for his wife, and then a solar deity was born out of the left, privileged eye of the demiurge. The deity was female, though there is another possible interpretation that it was a shaman, a home for Sun.4)

Kojiki was written in 711 by a clerk O-no-Yasumaro, at the order of the empress Gemmei. The myths were intended to strengthen an authoritarian rule over a hierarchic society. What a coincidence! The empress holds power, and all people come from the Goddess of Sun Energy, Amaretasu! Patriarchy of matriarchy? Hierarchy! The feeling of a divine energy within herself. The empress undoubtedly considered herself an exceptional Kami.

The second eye of Yizanagi gave birth to the God of Moon Energy, Tukuyomi. Totally different than in the European tradition where solar deities are masculine, while Moon is related to the Great Goddess of matriarchy! Kojiki ends with the list of Japanese rulers, giving the name of the place where they were buried. The Girl Who Is Wiser than Her Fame Says is the last name on this list.

The mythological powers begot the Japanese islands; moRgan, thanks to veriKami, begot photographs that will outlast the two Energies they portray. The created, but not portrayed energies will be also lasting. The series starts with an image of Laokoon's black sun with a transparent penis. In fact, the author made a self-portrait, then she modified the muscles proportion and dyed the skin dark brown. A white, female artist changes into a black male. She becomes a black daughter of the ancient Troy priest. This is known to the contemporary people who are familiar with an ancient sculpture illustrating the fight of Laokoon and his two sons with huge snakes. The snakes - obvious phallic symbols - were the tools of the patriarchal rule of in the hands of the gods who killed Laokoon, Apollo priest who had discovered the Greek stratagem. Athena, a male resembling virgin, the Goddess of Wisdom, was the main advocate for the Greek. One would like to quote Kojiki, the power hungry Girl Who Was Wiser than Her Fame Said. Using her mental phalluses - the snakes - she crushed a clever priest.

moRgan erases Athena phallic envoys on a large size photograph entitled "NeuroXXstasis". A penis in the palm of a Negro. The artists mocks white men who are afraid of a "black guy" huge penis. There is nothing to be anxious about; every big penis is to be liquidated by moRgan, the sorceress. Three girls against the background of ectoplasm and electronic scraps, frozen in the poses that do not repeat the gestures of the famous sculpture characters, forming new sets of disturbed symmetry. In the background - a womb muscle - manifestation of the feminine.

moRgan is also Kami. Black moRgan is Kami, contradicting the racist approach of the Japanes mythology that grants divine origin only to pure blood Japanese men and women. Black moRgan is the Old Woman, the Goddess of Death. The first of the matriarchal Energy triad is a blond virgin; the second, redhaired - a menstruating and child bearing woman. The third - black and masculine - is holding an artificial penis, a phallic symbol of an ultimate power; the power to give and take life away.

1) "Kojiki, the Book of Ancient Events", translation from Japanese by Wiesław Kotański, Warsaw 1986;
2) "Japanese Deities Heritage", Wiesław Kotański, Wrocław, Warsaw, Cracow, 1995, p.112;
3) Therein, p.80;
4) Therein, p.247.



b. in 1965 in Szczecin
1983 – participated in the Pitch Up Culture, first private alternative artistic movement festival in Teofilów, organized by the Łódź Kaliska group
1985 – “The Interferences”, her first public performance at the 1st New Art Biennial in Zielona Góra – “The Interferences”, her first 8 mm video
1985-1988 – Co-founder – with Zbigniew Libera, Jerzy Truszkowski, Janusz Rasiński, Jacek Rydecki, Anna Mirosava Nowak and Barbara Wysocka – of the Sternenhoch group ( they shared painting pictures, recording music and giving concerts, together made movies, events and performances)
1989 – instrumental musician diploma at the F. Chopin State School of Music in Warsaw
1991-1993 – studies at the College of Psychotronics in Łódź
1992 – artistic scholarship, video production practice in Medienweskstadt in Vienna
1992-1999 – made 3 videos and composed music for 15 films on art produced by public Polish TV 2nd Channel, in the series “Ł Station” and “The Art Beat” – (in cooperation with Józef Robakowski)
1994-1998 – studies at the National Film School Camera and TV Production Faculty in Łódź
2000-2002 – studies at the National Film School in Łódź, specialized in Visual Communication and TV Production

Wystawy indywidualne/One-woman exhibitions:
1988 – Kwazdrup Konfirmator , Galeria Stodoła, Warszawa
2000 – Fotogramy cyfrowe 1997–2000 , Galeria FF, Łódź
2002 – Extropia. Kreatywność maszyny / Extropy. Creativity of the Machine , Galeria Entropia, Wrocław
2003 – Kreatywność maszyny. Mięso i Bity / Creativity of the Machine. Flesh & Bits, Galeria Pusta GCK, Katowice
2007 – „malavida moRgan&veriKami”, CSW Zamek Ujazdowski/ Ujazdowski Castle, Warszawa – The Birth of Venus , Galeria Warszawskiego Aktywu Artystów, Warszawa

Indywidualne pokazy i performance multimedialne /one-woman screenings & multimedia performances:
1990 – L'Horreur D'Individualisme , CSW Zamek Ujazdowski/ Ujazdowski Castle, Warszawa
1998 – Sekwencje Retrospektywne. Interpolacje, Bunkier Sztuki, Kraków
2000 – Interferencje, Museum of Art, Łódź
– Projekcja retrospektywna, Galeria Arsenał, Poznań
– Sekwencje retrospektywne. Interpolacje, CSW Zamek Ujazdowski/Ujazdowski Castle, Warszawa
2001 – Cyberfeminizm. Związki postbiologiczne , Galeria BWA, Zielona Góra
2004 – Memetic Xpress , Galeria BWA, Zielona Góra
2005 – The Immortal , CSW Zamek Ujazdowski/Ujazdowski Castle, Warszawa
2006 – Her Portrait - The Immortal , Galeria Manhattan, Łódź

Brała udział w wielu wystawach zbiorowych i festiwalach w kraju i za granicą, w Wiedniu, Berlinie, Bonn, Londynie, Paryżu, Helsinkach.