Posts Tagged ‘discussion’

We Who Feel Differently

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

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A couple of weeks ago, the multi-disciplinary artist Carlos Motta released his fascinating research-based art project We Who Feel Differently with talks in Bergen and Oslo.

We Who Feel Differently is the result of Motta’s extensive work on queer activism and the question of alternative thinking, centered around numerous interviews with activists in Colombia, USA, South Korea and Norway. Motta has collected an amazing number of voices and material, and he has been generous enough to present it all for free on a compelling homepage: wewhofeeldifferently.info. Great!

I have just started to read, listen and watch all the fascinating material in the interview, journal, ephemera and theme-sections, and look forward to spend much time on and with this homepage in the future. Here is how Motta presents the structure of the project:

We Who Feel Differently is a database documentary that addresses this question and other critical issues of contemporary queer culture.

Interviews features conversations with fifty queer academicians, activists, artists, radicals, researchers, and others in Colombia, Norway, South Korea and the United States about the histories and development of LGBTIQQ politics in those countries.

Themes outlines five thematic threads drawn from the interviews in the form of a narrative. This section has also been produced as a book.

Journal is a sporadic publication that presents in depth analyses and critiques of LGBTIQQ politics from queer perspectives. The first issue is “Queerly Yours: Thoughts and Afterthoughts on Marriage Equality.”

We Who Feel Differently attempts to reclaim a queer “We” that values difference over sameness, a “We” that resists assimilation, and a “We” that embraces difference as a critical opportunity to construct a socially just world.

I hope Motta’s project will generate critical discussion and debate about politics of difference and sameness, queerness etc. It surely is a gold mine to all scholars, activists, artists and others interested in queer activism, transnational solidarity and alternative perspectives on the “site” of queer politics. I hope to write more about this project in the future!

Dragkingkultur og dets undergravende potensiale

Friday, March 13th, 2009

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Fredag 20. mars kl. 19 kommer Anna Olovsdotter Lööv til København for å holde opplegg på Enhedslistens Queerudvalgs månedlige arrangement, Café Under Dekonstruksjon i Folkets Hus. Temaet er “Dragkingkultur og dets undergravende potensiale” og tar utgangspunkt i hennes PhD-prosjekt i genusvidenskab ved Lunds Universitet om dragkinging i Sverige.

For dem som ikke er i byen - eller som vil være godt forberedt - kan man lese Anna Olovsdotter Löövs artikkel i Trikster #1, “Dragkingkulturen - kvinnokulturens queera brorsa”.

Det sjuka av Anna-Maria Sörberg

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

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Nylig utkom journalisten Anna-Maria Sörbergs bok Det sjuka, en reportasjebok om hiv/aids i Sverige. Dette er en av de viktigste bøkene jeg har lest på lenge, og kan anbefales på det sterkeste.

Sörberg tar utgangspunkt i de monstrøse fortellingene om “hivmenn” og “hivkvinner” som i de seneste årene har vært skrevet om i pressen, der de har blitt fremstilt som personer som intendert har smittet folk med hiv. Sörberg har gått bak mediepanikken, og intervjuet disse menneskene som har blitt omtalt som ondskapsfulle drapsmaskiner. Flere av intervjuobjektene sitter i fengsel, andre har blitt utvist av Sverige etter de har sonet fengselsstraffer. Dette er sterke og vonde historier om hvordan det er å leve med et virus som fortsatt er skambelagt og kriminalisert - selv 25 år etter viruset ble oppdaget. Boken kretser rundt det strenge svenske lovverket, og viser dettes bakside: dets medvirken i opprettholdelsen av den skambetonte diskursen om hiv/aids; de mange tilsynelatende rasistiske dommene i hiv-smitte saker, der ikke-svensker har fått lengre fengselsstraffer for samme forseelser, og har blitt sent ut av landet uten mulighet for riktig medisinering.

Gjennom en postkolonial optik på hiv/aids problemstillingen viser Det sjuka farene ved å se viruset som noe som kommer “utefra”, som noe “Annet” og “fremmed”. Den nasjonaliserte kampen mot hiv/aids i Sverige er feilslått, ettersom den ikke tar inn over seg hvordan sykdommen ikke har noen grenser: dette er en internasjonal krise, og krever større prespektiver enn fokus på å beskytte viruset innenfor nasjonens grenser. Sörberg argumenterer for en solidaritet som inkluderer det fremmede, og dette kunne jeg ikke være mer enig i.

Jeg skal skrive mer og bedre om Sörbergs bok enn dette, men nå er det viktigst å påpeke at hun i kveld presenterer boken sin på den fantastiske queerfeministiske bokhandleren Hallongrottan i Stockholm. For dem som er i byen, bør man dra dit kl. 19, for å høre Sörberg i samtale med Finn Hellman.

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(Illustrasjon fra Hallongrottan.com)

That’s Revolting! Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

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Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (Photo: Jefferey Walls)

One of the great advantages with the Internet, is the possibility of following activists and artists in other side of the world. Unfortunately, it is an overt globalized Eurocentrism in such a statement and, of course, not all have the possibility of hooking up with others online, or silently following people as they write on their activities, their travels, their thoughts and actions.

For quite a while now, I have followed the activist writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s blog NOBODY PASSES, darling. Currently the blog has documented her experiences and meetings with people on her latest tour, presenting her new novel So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights, 2008).

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It is inspiring to be a blog-companion, following Mattilda around the US, and picking her thoughts. For those who are not familiar with Sycamore’s work, she has been a seriously active activist based in San Francisco, taking part in groups such as ACT UP, Fed Up Queers, Gay Shame, and several other initiatives. In 2003, Mattilda published her first novel Pulling Taffy, and besides her own literary production, she has edited several books (and journals), such as Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving and Tricks and Treats: Sex Workers Write About Their Clients. In other words, Mattilda is an active “critic and troublemaker”.

In 2004 Mattilda edited the important anthology That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation, published by Skull Press. In 2008, a new revised and expanded version of the book came out, and this is mandatory for everyone interested in queer activism, politics, and history. Here you can read on Gay Shame, Restroom Revolutionaries, Fed Up Queers, ACT UP, Gay Liberation Front, rural queer youth, sex workers, drugs and resistance, sex workers, critiques of straight (and gay) privilege, racism, assimilation, etc.

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I have been thinking about this book lately, as the media in Scandinavia has written about the fight for gay marriage in California, following the Proposition 8, restricting the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples only. In the coverings on the gay Prop.8-activism, there are never any mentionings of the far more radical activism criticising gay assimilation and marriage as an institution in the US. But activist initiatives resisting the normalization of queer existence deserves more attention, also across the Atlantic. And here Mattilda comes into the picture, as her writings and discussions on her blog and in her books are important, as they reach out wide with a strong and precise critical voice. In the introduction to That’s Revolting! Mattilda writes on gay marriage :

“If gay marriage is about protecting citizenship, whose citizenship is being protected? Most people in this country - especially those not born rich, white, straight, and male - are not full citizens. Gay assimilationists want to make sure they’re on the winning side in the citizenship wars, and this they see no need to prevent most people living in this country (and anywhere else) from exercising their supposed ‘rights’.”

Mattilda is not affraid to step on somebody’s toes, and she does an important job criticizing priveleges of all sorts. On her blog yesterday, she quoted herself from an interview she did with The Rumpus, and I think it is worth quoting this in length:

“Complacency isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. I’m interested in accountability and I’m interested in building a culture of defiance. I think it’s perfectly fine if people choose conventional life choices but it’s important to figure out a way to do the least damage rather than the most. We all make horrible compromises in order to survive in this monstrous world but the point is to make the fewest compromises possible, not to push everyone aside in order to grab any privilege we can get our hands on and then police the borders to keep out those who have less access. If the status quo is a rabid, militaristic, imperialist project camouflaged by the illusion of everyday normalcy, then yes, it’s definitely a problem if you’re a willful part of it.”

That’s something to think about folks! So now you are warned: Mattilda’s writing is out there, and it better be read and discussed more in Scandinavia too.

Queer methodologies roundtable in Stockholm

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

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There seems to be a growing interest in queer methodology as of lately. For instance, at the international conference Feminist Research Methods in Stockholm February 4-6, a two-day workshop session is dedicated to methodological questions in queer studies.

The workshop “Queer Methodologies, or How Do Queer Researchers Do Research?” (pdf.) is organized by The Queer Seminar at Stockholm University (Ingeborg Svensson, Fanny Ambjörnsson, Pia Laskar, Patrik Steorn). During the conference, approximately 20 presenters will discuss their different queer research methods.

For those who are not participating in the conference, there is an open roundtable discussion on Thursday February 5th at 09.00-10.30 at Stockholm University, entitled: “Queer Methodologies: Problems and possibilities”, including Kath Brown (moderator), Anu Koivunen, Mark Graham, Sara Edenheim, and Martin Berg. If you are in Stockholm during this time, remember to check out the social events program, “Queer Spaces”, that is open for everybody. See you there!

Queer er sosialisme

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

I Sverige har det vært en opphetet debatt om queerbevegelsen i den siste tiden. Det begynte for alvor med Maciej Zaremba som i Dagens Nyheter gjorde sitt for å disskreditere queerbevegelsen som han hevder er fundamentalistisk, med en forvridd virkelighetsoppfattelse og absurd agenda. I forlengelse av Zarembas “kritikk”, har mange forutsigbart nok hevet seg på skittkastingskonkurransen.

“Att högern blir nervös begriper vi. Men vänstern?” skriver Athena Farrokhzad og Tova Gerge i den meget gode artikkelen “Queer är socialism” i Aftonbladet, der de kommer med et viktig innlegg i debatten. For som Farrokhzad og Gerge påpeker er det ikke akkurat overraskende at liberale og konservative debattører som Zaremba rakker ned på revolusjonær virksomhet, men at også en lang rekke venstrefeminister i den siste tiden har angrepet queerbevegelsen er mer problematisk.

Som svar til feministiske skribenter som Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Ebba Witt-Bratström og flere andres manglende forståelse og absurde angrep på queerbevegelsen, viser Farrokhzad og Gerge hvorfor og hvordan “queer är socialism”. De skriver:

“Queer är också en möjlighet för socialismen att börja betrakta sig själv och lossa greppet om en exkluderande motståndsymbolik. I vänsterns kollektiva medvetande reser sig fortfarande propagandaaffischens friska vita fabriksarbetande män mot den kapitalistiska jätten, kanske med några frodiga kvinnor i bakgrunden. Fantasin om den vita fabriksarbetarens revolt upprätthåller en bild av agens som är snarlik den kapitalistiska. Queerfeminismen, antirasismen och cripteorins analyser av kroppens form och funktion skulle kunna bistå den traditionella vänstern med andra symboler och giltigförklara den socialistiska aktivism som andra aktörer bedriver. Eller som Tiina Rosenberg fastslår i den nordiska queertidskriften Trikster: ”Den antiheterosexistiska, antirasistiska och antikapitalistiska politiken är vår tids vänsterpolitik.” I stället för att betrakta queerengagemang som en energiförlust skulle vänstern kunna få näring av de rörelser som vill göra upp med kapitalismens grundprinciper.”

Det er nesten trist at det i 2008 er nødvendig å forklare venstrefløyen at “queer är socialism”, men det er godt at Farrokzhad og Gerge gjør det. Det er ikke vanskelig å være enig med dem i deres fine avslutningskommentar, der de med et lite vink til Artaud & Deleuze bemerker: “En kropp kan sakna organ, men ändå ha hjärtet till vänster”.

What’s queer about queer festivals?

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

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Remember the discussion evening on Tuesday April 15, at 8 pm at Den økologiske produktionsskole (map) in Copenhagen, where the Copenhagen Queerfestival will discuss what’s queer about queer festivals now. Small talks will be held by Maja Bissenbakker Fredriksen, Liv Mertz, Mathias Kryger Hansen, Jørgen Kallesen, Mathias Danbolt and … a surprise.