The dog tags worn in the performance ‘A Tremendous Burden’ (2018) are inscribed with a quote from Michelle O’Brien’s essay titled Tracing This Body: Transsexuality, Pharmaceuticals, and Capitalism. The quote reads: “LIVE IN THE FLOWS. SUFFER IN THE FLOWS. ENVISION A NEW WORLD IN THE FLOWS”.
In this essay, O’Brien traces the links between her own consumption of synthetic hormones and how this intersects with the ways pharmaceutical companies, exclusionary health insurance policies, governments, and global systems of labor produce, advertise, regulate, distribute, and market medications. Tracing This Body asks us to re-imagine ways of resisting the systems we as trans people, and/or drug users, and/or HIV+ people depend on for survival.