Brandon (1998-99)
Shu Lea Cheang


Brandon opens with the bigdoll interface, which features a cryptic grid of images that change as the user mouses over them; clicking reveals an underlying image, a color-separated composite drawing of a mechanically reconstructed knee.

Many of the images portray parts of human bodies, particularly genitalia, which appear alongside fragments of newspaper clippings (“EXPOSURE,”“SHE’S A HE,” “DECEIT”), which reflect the inflammatory language often used by the press in describing Brandon Teena’s gender identity..

Road Trip

The road trip interface allows users to experience driving across a highway in Nebraska. Along the trip, there are various road signs and icons which reveals that there are many more tragic life stories of individuals with gender fluid identities. One of the interfaces that stood out was the web search of Brandon Teena as the road trip acts as a metaphor of Brandon's journey of finding his identity.

Who is Brandon?


Brandon's panopticon interface reflected the history of criminalization of trans people.

The panopticon interface uses Jeremy Bentham's diagram of a prison optimized for surveillance as a navigational aid.

Cells link outward to images and stories of the repression faced by trans and gender-nonconforming people at the hands of the state, including historical, contemporary, and speculative examples.

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