Eliza Steinbock
Groping Theory: Haptic Cinema and Trans-Curiosity in Hans Scheirl's "Dandy Dust”
– The Transgender Studies Reader Volume 2
book chapter 2013


In the film’s companion text, “Manifesto for the Dada of the Cyborg-Embrio,” Scheirl explains that the proper pronoun for Dandy Dust is neither she nor he, but rather cy, short for cyborg. Scheirl’s hormonal “experiments,” as he called them, as well as Dandy Dust’s experimental style, together articulate a form of “ethologic” research in the vein of Baruch Spinoza, who stated once that “we do not yet know what a body can do.” In testing and experimenting with encounters that redefine the body’s experiences of motion and rest, its capacity to affect and be affected by other bodies, the film poses the question, “what can a body do, or be made to do?” within the mediated and ideological contexts of contemporary cinema. Like its shape-shifting protagonist, the film jumps genres--from science fiction, to mystery, to horror, to splatter, to porn. It refuses to maintain a singular gender identity or, for that matter, embodiment for its lead character, who appears on-screen as a young boy of color, an older Caucasian tomboy, a talking flame, and a dusty mummy. The stable characteristic of Dandy Dust, the character, as well as Dandy Dust the film, is neither gender nor genre, but rather, in the words of Scheirl’s collaborator Johnny de Philo, a 'vastly overgrown appetite for curiosity.'