A House is the People You Walk With

Nicole Foreshew and Jacob Nash, Hereby Make Protest, 2014.

Nicole Foreshew and Jacob Nash, Hereby Make Protest, 2014.

“Some experience of voyaging and exile is […] necessary for being’s complete fulfillment,”[2] wrote Martinican literary critic Édouard Glissant in his 1990 book Poetics of Relation. Similarly, art historian and curator Miwon Kwon suggests that it is through traveling and being out of a familiar place that one finds him/herself.[3] For Glissant, this newly found self is no longer connected to a single, unitary root. Once determined by geography of our origin and a single culture, our identity is now unmoored, diffused, and characterised by the “errant thought.”[5] We find ourselves in Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome – “an assemblage of connected multiplicities, without center or origin, […] always in process of becoming;”[6] detached, capricious, and able to swiftly shift course. [7] But this fluidity and flexibility in thoughts and actions is both exhilarating and  daunting. Unmoored and unbound, we also crave stability and belonging. Errantry is, thus, paired with melancholia and nostalgia; rhizome experienced as vertigo and tension.[8]

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HEX: A triumphant return to joy, passion, and exuberance

20140508-GL-hex-0525 HEX by James Welsby Photo Gregory Lorenzutti

Recently I spoke to Australian contemporary dancer and choreographer JAMES WELSBY whose work HEX explores the legacy and impact of the 80s AIDS crisis through the lens of the generation that was born in its wake. Combining contemporary dance with queer club performance, HEX provides an experience of both celebration and reflection; it is a tribute to those who have been lost, but also a celebration of the community they shaped, and which continues to grow.  Continue reading

Challenging the notion of Queer Art with Zvonimir Dobrovic

German choreographer Raimund Hoghe.

German choreographer Raimund Hoghe

Internationally acclaimed curator, Zvonimir Dobrovic is currently in Sydney as guest of Performance Space and 2015 Mardi Gras festival. On Friday 27 February, he joined me on Eastside Radio to talk about his practice and the new, extended meaning of queer art.

Zvonimir is known for his unconventional approach to curating queer. His vision of queer art widens the common association of queer with the LGBT related content and includes all art that is subversive (but never violent); all art that questions normativity and conventionality. The art, in other words, that is a disruption to business-as-usual, to normative assumptions that lead to marginalisation and discrimination of any kind.

Hear Zvonimir reflect on socio-political relevance of queer art and explain why he believes that art (and non-didactic art in particular) has a power to broaden the per-existing limiting and marginalising narratives, more effectively then some other initiatives. He also explains why it is important to keep queer art indexical rather then iconic, where iconic is seen as repetitive and formulaic while indexical points to something new and unexpected, something that we have not yet though of. The indexical art is an art of discovery. If we follow Zvonimir’s definition of queer art as disruption of status-quo then we could say that indexical art is by its very definition queer. Or, in other words, that art that is not indexical stops being queer.

“When trying to understand or determine queer art, let us remember that the beauty of queer is that there is no essential queer art object or subject. Queer art is not an objectifiable identity, domain, or dwelling, but is rather produced as a contrast against which normalcy is produced and codified. Hence, queer art never is, it never fully arrives. It is always, disrupting, refusing, and resisting the ever-shifting power of normativity and dominance, …” ~ tinyurl.com/nnxhv5j

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Butoh

Butoh (舞踏 Butō?) is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo. The art form is known to "resist fixity"[1] and be difficult to define; notably, founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalisation of butoh with "distress".[2] Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion.

Butoh is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, butoh arose in 1959. The art form is known to “resist fixity” and be difficult to define; notably, founder Hijikata Tatsumi viewed the formalisation of butoh with “distress”. Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, extreme or absurd environments, and is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion. Butoh allows “the body to “speak” for itself, thru unconscious improvised movement.”

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