Pre-opening: International Research Center Gender and Performativity


Jack Halberstam

Unworlding: Trans* Architectures



A Lecture on Thursday, May 16th, 5pm
at Großer Seminarraum (E0101), IKM / Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1, 1030 Wien


Today, I am going to lay out some ideas that build on many different aesthetic performances and practices involving trans bodies and that search for and produce new vocabularies for discussing transness and new deployments of transness for the project of dismantling world and worldedness as concepts that hold current political realities in place. I will look at trans anarchitectures alongside performances like Faye Driscoll’s incredible event,  “Weathering,” to delineate what is meant by unworlding, what practices and aesthetic gestures it implies and what im/possible futures it imagines. Unworlding is a philosophy and an anti-anti-utopian idea that breaks with world-building projects (such as those found in early queer theory), and charts a course for queer and trans art that skews towards violence, acts of undoing and dismantling and the embrace of entropic unraveling. What might this look like in terms of a politics of representation, particularly one oriented around trans and queer bodies?


Jack Halberstam is the David Feinson Professor of The Humanities at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press).  Halberstam’s latest book, 2020 from Duke UP is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of Desire. Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam  is now finishing a second volume on wildness titled: Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse. Halberstam was recently the subject of a short film titled “So We Moved” by Adam Pendleton. Halberstam was recently named a 2024 Guggenheim Fellow. 


This event takes place thanks to a cooperation between the FWF PEEK-project (AR598) Navigating Dizziness Together ( at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the International Research Center Gender and Performativity at mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.



International Research Center Gender and Performativity
Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien
Anton-von-Webern-Platz 1, 1030 Wien 

Großer Seminarraum (E 0101)