Miraculous Thirst, how to get off in days of deprivation
Miraculous Thirst, is a collaborative encounter between shared practices of queer world making, towards the blossoming of shameless queer desire (thirst). The works perform a repositioning of public space and the private sphere in relation to the non-reproductive pleasures of getting off.
Analogue sites of social sexual pleasure – public toilets/park bushes/nightclubs/bars – are becoming sanitised under the forces of rising rents and the intensification of human capital, transposed into a digital non-place, rubbing up against a reproductive, domestic present, what José Esteban Muñoz calls the “prison house… of the here and now.” Where do we get off? Queer intimacy and desire are becoming regulated actions, their manifestations monitored in both private and public realms. Lives at the intersections of systems of oppression are threatened on the streets, by lovers, in the bedroom and in the bushes. How do we maintain spaces for shared sensual /sexual pleasure and care when personal safety is at risk?
EVA at IMMA
The 38th EVA International, Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art will hit various venues across Limerick from April to July, with an extended programme to include Dublin’s IMMA in May featuring work by some pretty prominent queer artists.
Created in 1988 (the same year as GCN), Marlon Riggs’ avant garde film, Tongues Untied gets a timely 30th anniversary inclusion. The piece blends documentary footage with personal account and fiction in an attempt to depict the specificity of black gay identity. The ‘silence’ referred to throughout the film is that of black gay men, who are unable to express themselves because of the prejudices of white and black heterosexual society, as well as the white gay society.
Mondial by Roy Dib is a film based around institutional borders in modern day Middle East. A travel film made in a location that doesn’t permit travel, it depicts two male lovers, in a setting where homosexuality is a punishable felony.
Northern Irish artist, Locky Morris, presents his installation, Comm, a work that references the system of covert messaging used by Republican prisoners during the Troubles. The practice involved writing tiny messages on toilet or cigarette paper and wrapped in cling-film, typically exchanged through a kiss between prison visitors and inmates.
For more information on the festival program, visit www.eva.ie
Dublin Dance Fest
Twirling into Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to launch the Dublin Dance Festival, a stunning new version of Giselle promises to blow your tutu off.
Akram Khan, who we also have to thank for choreographing Kylie’s Showgirl Tour, has teamed up with 40 dancers from the English National Ballet to present an achingly romantic re-imagining of the classic.
As well as Khan’s thought provoking choreography, set and costume design are provided by the Oscar winning Tim Yip, who also brought us Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Along with Giselle, there’s a whole troupe of stunning shows to catch over the rest of the festival. We featured some of them in an article on our website, including Rebels On Pointe, a film peering backstage at the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, the all male comic ballet company founded after New York’s Stonewall riots.
Giselle runs from the 2nd to the 6th of May at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, tickets are priced from €21 via www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie. For more information on the program, visit www.dublindancefestival.ie
Path Finders Exhibitor at Outhouse
A new exhibition by Paul Connell was inspired by a photograph he took of a lesbian couple in their 70s and 80s. It’s a celebration of the legacies of passed on by ordinary older Irish lesbians and gay men, rooted in their experiences of a very different Ireland to now.
The statement that goes alongside ex GCN staff member, Paul Connell’s new photography exhibition at Dublin’s LGBT Centre, Outhouse says it “aims to recognise and personalise the legacy of older lesbian and gays, and to acknowledge the contributions their lives and struggles have made to the political and social fabric of contemporary Irish society.”
Although the project was kicked off by one photograph of an older queer couple, who grace our cover this month, it began on a less conscious level for Connell with the passing of his mother ?? years ago.
“That was a shock,” he says. “The idea of loss, the fear of loss, of a life vanishing with no chance of whatever their achievements were being recorded, being recognised. Unconsciously, that was motivating me, and then purely by accident, I photographed a lesbian couple in their late 70s, early 80s.
“When I saw the photograph, it hit me really hard, what extraordinary lives they must have lived. To reach this point as a couple in love, to have been feminists, queers, lesbians, and never to have conformed, not having gone through the period of being married and leaving husbands – they lived in a period when they probably didn’t even have words for it, yet somehow there they were together.”
To begin with, Connell continued taking photographs of older lesbians, but as time went on word of mouth grew, and men started coming into it.
“All the images are taken the same way,” Connell explains. “I was looking at historical references, particularly early German photography, but also when you photograph everybody in exactly the same way, you’re creating a sort of visual categorisation. What happens is that the individual stands out; you’re identifying the individual.
“Post-referendum there’s been a lot of people asking ‘was this what we fought for?’ There was a lot of whitewashing of the old queers, or the more radical ideas, so I wanted to bring it down to seeing the individual rather than ‘the gay community’ as we have come to be seen.
“There’s a lot of this work happening now. The anniversaries of British and Irish decriminalisation, GCN turning 30, Outhouse is 25 this year; there’s a lot of interest in and recognition of where we came from, of our history.”
Connell, who is in his 50s, was surprised by some of the things that arose while working on the project. “I think there is a lot of vulnerability in the pictures,” he says. “One thing that came up for me was the price people paid emotionally, the damage inflicted by being out and having to live your life like that. There was a period when every gay man was a criminal under the law, and that had a huge effect. We have to look at it and say, they did this to me, but I’m here. There’s a real recognition of personal lives, of achievements.
“They lived in a period of utter transgression too, and there was a lot of fun in that, being transgressive and developing ideas. There was hardness to life, but you have to balance it up with a lot of craic going on.”
There were other learnings for the artist. “I think I learned to respect my elders and to see myself as an elder too,” he says. “To recognise the value that we as elders still have to give, which must be recognised and allowed to be shared with the people who possibly dismiss and make invisible all those people who are aging.
“Recognising my own aging process, I’m thinking I’m probably better now than I’ve been in my whole life.
“I believe that we are never more beautiful than we are now. This is who I am, scars and all. It’s about finding our own strength to look at ourselves as we age, that’s most important.”
Path Finders opens at Outhouse on April 19, www.outhouse.ie
Trans Comic Workshop
Sophie Labelle, author of Assigned Male Comics will be giving a comic workshop for trans people hosted by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI).
The event will take place at 6.30pm on the 3rd of May in the Lab Gallery. Sophie will also be doing a book signing at the event
Tickets are free and can be booked below but are limited to 25 people so book early to avoid disappointment.
We ask that bookings are limited to those who identify as trans, non-binary, or who are questioning their gender identity.
We are also co-hosting an event with ShoutOut, more details are available here.
Email [email protected] for more information
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