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Beyond Gender with Genesis & Lady Jaye

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by thepleasurechest

Many people have described love as the experience of becoming one with another person. Few have tried to express this quite so literally as pioneering performance artists and soulmates Genesis Orridge and Lady Jaye. In the 1990s,  the couple, already famous in underground art and music circles, embarked on a radical project to express their profound connection to one another.

Drawing inspiration from “cut ups,” an experimental art practice, popularized by William Burroughs, in which bits of text or audio are cut up and rearranged to create something new, they set out to explore the mutability of the body, gender and identity itself. Orridge and Lady Jaye invented a third being, which they called “The Pandrogyne” and began a series of surgeries and transformations to realize their vision. Neither male, nor female, the Pandrogyne is an expression of their utopian ideas of love, change and liberation from the body.

As Orridge said,

My project is not about gender. Some feel like a man trapped in a woman’s body, others like a woman trapped in a man’s body. The pandrogyne says, I just feel trapped in a body. The body is simply the suitcase that carries us around. Pandrogyny is all about the mind, consciousness.

When Lady Jaye passed away in 2007, Orridge continued the project, and a documentary about their lives was finally completed.

Is the Pandrogyne the unique expression of one couple’s love? Or a radical assault on gender norms and the limits of the body?

Our LA readers will get a chance to decide for themselves when The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye premieres at the 29th Annual Outfest on Saturday.

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