Current Research       Projects       About

Dear P,

It’s been such a pleasure having you here with me.

In the time we have shared so far, I often tried to imagine how I would have felt if I stumbled into you in 1991, when you were out in the streets of NY for the first time. I think I would have tried to take you home with me.

I still remember the first time I saw you. Your photograph was part of an article on lesbian activism during the AIDS crisis in the US and the years following that.

I thought you looked so cool.

Since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about you. I admire your bravery. Your desire to proliferate into spaces that were so unwelcoming to you. You are an act of defiance,

and of

                                                                          love  too.

You told me how challenging things used to be and the dramatic shifts you witnessed throughout all these years.

Social change, the thirst for bearable lives and civil rights are contagious. They spread and multiply as you did through the city's surfaces, although what is gained someplace is often a dream somewhere else.

                                                                                 A horizon.


When I look at you, I am reminded that my life is the way it is because you and others like you thought it was possible. You imagined what was not yet there.

Still, at times, I feel a profound sense of uncertainty, an acute awareness that the lives we built and keep fighting for are never safe from the possibility of being undone.


Like a poster on a wall.

And I know you got torn off many times. But you stuck around and came back up, over and over again.

To me, you are a token of hope.

I am so thrilled you are coming to Paris with me. It took me four years from the moment I laid my eyes on your picture to finally take you out. You have been in the arms of so many before me, those who thought about you first, who made you what you are. You are their legacy. They are my genealogy, my history, and so are you.

And, through this letter, this intrusion on your surfaces, I hope that you’ll keep living. Under the arms of others onto new walls. Maybe in the homes of all of those who are still seeking you.

With love,

Giulia Astesani, with great gratitude for the work of fierce pussy.

I'm standing on a traghetto pier in Venice.  I must be 5 or 6 years old

My small hands are holding tightly onto a big black hat, which has a blue feather and a golden and red ribbon of some sort attached to it.

The hat is part of a much more intricate carnival costume.

Red fabric boots cover my shoes and part of my legs, puffy black trousers are popping out from under a red and gold vest with a shiny cross printed in the middle, and a black plastic sword is kept in place by a strip of golden cloth around my waist.

Under the vest, a white shirt covers my arms, and a red cape is falling onto my back, and to finish the costume off, my favourite detail – a black moustache drawn over my upper lip.

I'm dressed up as D'Artagnan, one of the three musketeers. From the photograph, it appears to be a sunny day, and I look excited, I can almost recall the smell of the costume — a synthetic smell of something that has been kept in plastic for a long time


It's not possible to live twenty-four hours a day soaked in the immediate awareness of one's sex. Gendered self-consciousness has, mercifully, a flickering nature.  (Riley)