In 1588 the Spanish Armada sailed against England. At that time, it was arguably the strongest naval force in the world. Due primarily to weather, the Armada "lost" to the British navy. To help the weather, the British sent unmanned boats, loaded with explosives and set on fire, towards the Armada, forcing it to break formation. Following the battle, and unaware that they had "won," Queen Elizabeth gave her Armada speech to inspire the troops. In the mythology surrounding her, it is the only time she actually cross dressed, riding out to the troops in white armor (though there is scant actual evidence of this). Her speech conflates her body with the land of England, and her virginity with its soveriegnty. It is also the speech in which she famously says “I know I have but the weak and feeble body of a woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king.” She creates a double-gendered self, a fragmentation which allows her to occupy two positions, a woman needing protection and a king protecting.
This moment shifted the balance of power on the seas, and marks the beginning of the colonial fury of England. The complications, contradictions, and difficulties of the meanings which center here are a point from which I draw inspiration. This body of work most clearly centers around the historical narrative.