Volume 12, Issue 1/2, 2009
Art, Praxis, and Social Transformation
D. Rita Alfonso
Permeability and Impermeability in John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus
This essay is about experience, and not only about ideas. I have been drawn to write about John Cameron Mitchell’s Shortbus for a number of reasons: First, I find his work to be part of a new turn in LGBT art and media that take queer lives as a point of departure, and not only as narrative focus, for their work. These are
works that are not just about being queer, but cross the line into being queer works. Of those who can be said to be a part of this recent turn, I find Mitchell’s work to be both especially philosophical and formally interesting. Not only does his work take up philosophical questions over what it means to be human, and the nature of love and sex, but also his works are produced through an organic, cooperative process that re-frames what it could mean to queer representation, political or otherwise.