Arca: The Fierce and the Fluid
Electronica’s New Mistress
September 15, 2022
Alejandra Ghersi Rodríguez, stage name Arca, is the upcoming it-girl making waves across pop soundscapes and music culture. Boasting eight critically acclaimed albums, she has built a reputation through her bombastic electronic dance music (EDM) projects. Her projects often explore transhumanism, existentialism, and gender identity. Vicious bass drops torn through cut-up vocal samples and high-pitched distortion work together to melt reality and illustrate an atmosphere bursting with texture. Beats implode, voices roar, and time stops. Her music has breached various subcultures throughout the years, particularly queer spaces and music enthusiasts, who have come to enjoy her wild production and sharp commentary on gender expression.
Her emphasis on breaking boundaries and fluidity reflects in her hectic childhood. She was born in Caracas, Venezuela, but at three years old moved to Darien, Connecticut— only to abruptly move back to Venezuela when she was nine years old. Curiously, it was in her own country that she faced the most instability. Raised on Saturday-morning cartoons and American music, her peers branded her as an anomaly. According to an interview with Vice, her undying appetite for pop culture and unwavering ambi
tion to break free from the chains of a formerly unstable Venezuela invited a lot of ridicule from her peers. However, at sixteen, it wasn’t just her peers that questioned her tastes–it was her parents. Infatuated with feminine aesthetics, whether it’d be dresses or her copy of Spice World, the Spice Girls’ feature film, she was at odds with her family’s traditional views of gender and sexuality.
This battle between the traditional and transgressive is illustrated best through her art. Her album covers flirt with the uncanny and eerie, one of which features a spooky painting of a pale staring with undreaming eyes, its black teeth tightened into a grimace.
Her outlandish fashion sense blends futuristic motifs with minimalist sensibilities, as seen in the infamous cover art for her LP, stylized as KiCk i. The cover depicts a minimally clothed Ghersi piloting a black beast of a machine, baring sharp claws and walking on… feet? Stubs for feet? No one can truly say. As with most things she creates, how she presents hers
elf transcends language. If there’s one thing that can be said, however, it’s that now, as a thirty-year-old transwoman, drifting through the growing world of music, grammy nominations and multiple musical collaborations under her belt, she can say with utmost confidence, that she’s truly found herself. Others may struggle to parse who Ghersi is, but it doesn’t bother her. According to her, no one is normal.
Farchils, “Folk Dance of Mexico.” INGBIN 2017. https://imgbin.com/png/F2NjE14M/folk-dance-of-mexico-baile-folklorico-folk-dance-of-mexico-png
Graphic Designer: Morad Khetib
“Arca.” AlbumOfTheYear, www.albumoftheyear.org/artist/2873-arca. Accessed 14 Sept. 2022.
“Arca Is the Future We Hope For.” Garage, 8 Mar. 2020,
Cuba, Ana. Photo of Arca. New York Times, www.static01.nyt.com/images/2021/12/05/arts/05arca4/merlin_198324213_1d75d435-6550-4b70-9181-11731cfb73c2-superJumbo.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp.
Friedlander, Emilie. “Cover Story: Arca Finds Xen.” The FADER, 16 Apr. 2020, www.thefader.com/2014/09/30/arca-producer-xen-interview-cover-story.