Agnieszka Koscianska and Wieslaw Sokoluk – Instrukataz nadmierny [An Excessive Instruction]

CRUSEV Poland’s Agnieszka Koscianska introduces her new book – a book long conversation with the sex educator and youth therapist Wieslaw Sokoluk, in which Sokoluk tells the story of sex education handbook he co-authored in 1987.

Crusev Poland’s Agnieszka Koscianska introduces her new book, Instrukataz nadmierny, published this summer:

Instrukataz nadmierny (An Excessive Instruction, published by Wydawnictwo Czarne, based in Wolowiec, Poland) is a book long conversation with the sex educator and youth therapist Wieslaw Sokoluk. In the book, Sokoluk tells the story of sex education handbook he co-authored in 1987. Although sex education has been offered in Polish schools since the late 1960s, initially there was no handbook. It was only in September 1987, when a handbook finally appeared. The handbook turned out to be remarkably progressive. It caused many controversies and was banned from schools after two months. It went further than any available sex and marriage manual for adults, which on the one hand affirmed sexuality, but on the other were rather conservative in their description of gender roles, placing sex in marriage. The handbook was also significantly more progressive than earlier sex education publications addressed to young people. While these publications explained in detail issues such as development, the physiological and psychological problems of adolescence or the physiology of reproduction, they were vague about sexuality and pathologized everything other than procreative marital intercourse. The 1987 handbook was explicit about teen sexuality and affirmed its various manifestations. It did not pathologize masturbation and it discussed issues like sexual techniques and sexual pleasure. It also called homosexual relationships “analogues” to heterosexual ones.

Sokoluk based the handbook on his experience in youth counselling and education. Since the late 1970s, he travelled from school to school throughout Poland and answered students’ questions. He also operated the youth telephone hotline and collaborated with youth magazines; in both cases he answered sexuality related questions. Moreover, he ran the youth advisory centre at the Planned Parenthood Association in Warsaw, which consisted of a walk-in clinic and a mail counselling service. As he told me, while writing the handbook he had all his students’, clients’ and correspondents’ questions and letters in mind.

Finally, the book consists a chapter on changing therapeutic and educational approaches towards homosexuality in late state socialist Poland. Sokoluk talks about letters he received from his homosexual correspondents and how he responded to them.

You can read more about the book, in Polish, by clicking here.

Religion and non-normative sexuality / Religia i nienormatywnosc seksualna/plciowa: dyskursywne sploty

A report from CRUSEV Poland’s seminar with Dorota Hall, discussing her ethnographic research with LGBT Christians and discourses around homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism in the Roman Catholic Church

The fifth public seminar organized by the Polish CRUSEV team was held at the University of Warsaw on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. Our guest was Dr. Dorota Hall.

Dorota Hall discussed her extended study of LGBT Christians, encompassing an ethnographic study of a church-based Wiara i Tecza (Faith and Rainbow) group, interviews with members of the group and with other LGBT Christians, and an analysis of public discourse, including some teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Although she spoke about Christians of different denominations, Roman Catholics are by far the most numerous in Poland and most of her subjects were Roman Catholic. Moreover, most Protestant churches in Poland have avoided addressing LGBT issues, falling in line with the country’s deep-seated conservatism without offering a clear alternative to religiously inclined LGBT subjects.

Hall argued that during the 1970s the Roman Catholic Church in Poland was relatively silent on the issue of homosexuality and almost entirely silent on bisexuality and transgenderism despite pastoral documents such as Persona Humana (1975). While many LGBT subjects may have internalized the proscription of same-sex activities and desires, these points were rarely addressed in sermons or in other public contexts. The 1970s and the early 1980s thus saw an erasure of homosexuality from the Church’s preaching in a way that reflected a larger erasure of homosexuality in other areas of public discourse.

The silence began to lift with the arrival of HIV/AIDS and of more outspoken LGBT politics. Brochures warning boys about being seduced by older men were circulated in some parishes in the late 1980s. But a more radical shift occurred only post-2000, as Poland was preparing for EU accession, when the perceived threat of LGBT rights being recognized proved deeply polarizing. In 2002, the Roman Catholic Church in Poland went through its first public sexual scandal with Juliusz Paetz, the archbishop of Poznan, being accused of molesting some young clerics. Homosexuality was thus out of the closet also within the Church.

Hall addressed some ways in which the pastoral care of LGBT Christians overlapped with reparative therapy advocated by some would-be progressive Catholics. Despite the method’s discredited premises and doubtful effectiveness, these forms of therapy may have helped some queer subjects recognize and address their sexuality, especially as other forms of therapy were not available to them.

Adolpho Arrietta’s Queer 1970s: Les Intrigues de Sylvia Couski (1974) and Tam-Tam (1976)

Much queer cultural production in 1970s Spain, whether in comics, literature, music, or film, developed under the rubric of the “underground.” In this essay commission by LUX for Cruising Ground, Juan Suárez discusses how this label is as problematic as it is in many ways expressive and appropriate through the work of Arrietta.

Juan A. Suárez
7 Feb 2018

Its American origins made it unsuitable to Spain’s cultural isolation during Franco’s dictatorship (1939-1975) and to the prevalence of Spanish cultural motifs in underground works. At the same time, the term’s foreign origin aptly revealed the Spanish underground’s assimilation of various strands of French and Anglo-American experimental culture—the writing and cinema of Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, the underground comics, the New York underground cinema, the writing of the Beat Generation, psychedelia, and rock (especially progressive, glam, and punk, all of which had Spanish homegrown versions).[1] In addition, the ‘under’ in underground describes well the conditions under which Spanish countercultural artists worked through the 1970s: artisanally, collaboratively, and semi-clandestinely; they disseminated their unconventional, anti-authoritarian work through marginal channels, such as mimeographed fanzines and cheaply produced periodicals, cinema clubs, small galleries and exhibition spaces, bars, clubs, and performance venues. These channels usually managed to elude surveillance, but they were selectively targeted by the authorities. Artists, editors, and organizers of cultural events ended up enduring censorship, fines, closings, police beatings and jail terms, even in the aftermath of Franco’s death. Still, despite the repressive tenor of the times, the underground enjoyed an astonishing vitality and a considerable following. Pau Malvido, one of the scene’s best chroniclers, pointed out in 1976 that “in Spain, or whatever we want to call this peninsula, there is a lot of ‘underground’ culture. . . . Here, all that is true has been made under the ground, because on the more visible surface there will continue to be a mind-numbing television, a cartoonish political scene, a stark separation between the bosses and those bossed around.”[2]

The underground was not an exclusively queer development, whether in Spain or elsewhere, but one of its most visible ingredients was its unconventional sexual politics. Spanish underground magazines like Ajoblanco and Star, devoted to alternative culture and politics, published queer comics, reported on the emerging sexual liberation, reviewed queer experimental film, and their “Contacts” sections reflected a broad sexual range. The two-day anarchist festival (“Jornadas libertarias”) in Barcelona in 1977 included a deranged drag show by painter-performer Ocaña, comic book artist Nazario, and some of their friends; and the Canet Rock festival, a Spanish “gathering of the tribes” celebrated yearly between 1975 and 1978, was held in an atmosphere of sexual freedom, with groups of men attending in drag and performers like Pau Riba flirting with gender ambiguity. A short list of queer artists active in these underground scenes, besides Nazario and Ocaña, would include writer Eduardo Haro Ibars, whose book Gay Rock (1975) glossed the glam phenomenon for Spanish audiences and highlighted its confluence with gay and lesbian liberation; punk bands like Kaka de Luxe, and filmmakers Iván Zulueta, Pedro Almodóvar, who started shooting in 8mm and Super-8 in the mid-seventies; and Adolpho Arrietta.

Born in Madrid in 1942, Arrietta (originally spelled Arrieta), painted and made movies from his adolescence. After failing the entrance exam to Spain’s only cinema school, he started to make personal narratives with a second-hand 16mm Kodak purchased in a street market. These were purely amateur efforts assisted by friends such as painter Juan Guiralt and actor-collaborator-companion Javier Grandes, whose performing career was solely restricted to Arrietta’s productions.[3] Arrietta’s first two films, El crimen de la pirindola (1965) and Imitación del ángel (1967), which incorporates footage from two aborted projects, are haunting, elusive stories filmed in black and white; they combine Cocteau’s poetic surrealism, Jean Genet’s outsider (a)morality, and Arrietta’s own fascination with enigmatic angelic figures. According to historians Llorenç Soler and Joaquim Romaguera, these films made its author an isolated pioneer in Madrid[4] at a time when marginal film production was concentrated in Barcelona.

Imitación del ángel closes with one of its protagonists (played by Grandes) taking a train to Paris, something that the actor did in real life after completing the film. He was followed there by Arrietta, who remained in France for the next two decades. Only in the late 1980s would he start producing work in Spain again, when he was commissioned an episode (Kiki) of the series Delirios de amor for Spanish national television (TVE). Arrietta’s lengthy exile, which he claims was more aesthetically than politically motivated, was far from unusual. Many other experimental filmmakers and video artists who came of age in the 1960s developed much of their careers outside of Spain, escaping from the repressive military dictatorship and early transition governments, and looking for more favorable artistic and social milieus.

Arrietta evidently found such a milieu in Paris. El crimen de la pirindola was shown at the Cinematheque Française and he was quickly adopted by Marie Meerson, Henri Langlois’s main collaborator there, and by Cahiers du cinema critics Jean-Pierre Biesse and Jean-André Fieschi, who remained steady supporters in years to come. Arrietta’s following two films benefitted from a growing circle of friends and acquaintances in the Paris film intelligentsia. Le Jouet criminal (1969) featured Cocteau’s star and lover Jean Marais, with whom Arrietta became friends; future novelist Florence Delay, who had acted in Robert Bresson’s Procès de Jean D’Arc (1962); and Michèle Moretti, one of Marc O’s main performers. And Le Chateau du Pointilly (1972), later renamed Pointilly, starred Françoise Lebrun, a performer in Jean Eustace’s and Margarite Duras’s films, and Dyonis Mascolo, Margarite Duras’s former partner and later on an actor in Jean-Luc Godard’s films as well as her own.

Read the rest of the essay here.

Image: Marie France. Les Intrigues de Sylvia Cousky, Adolpho Arrietta, 1974.

Documentation: Millones de perversas. La radicalidad sexual en los años setenta/Millions of perverts. Sexual radicality in the seventies

Video Documentation of CRUSEV Spain’s seminar on LGBTQ radical sexual politics and cultures from the 1970s, held in Madrid, June 2017

Con el seminario Millones de perversas tratamos de invocar la memoria de esos sujetos y movimientos impugnando una narrativa hegemónica centrada en la supuesta conquista progresiva de derechos LGTBIQ. Las distintas sesiones de este seminario se plantean reactivar aquellas disruptivas políticas y poéticas. POÉTICAS presta atención a lo que sucedía en lugares concretos – como la efervescente Barcelona postfranquista o los espacios expresivos lésbicos de los años setenta – en un intento de dar claves para entender las poéticas desplegadas desde el ámbito de las culturas sexuales radicales de aquella década. REDES Y AFECTOS. ¿Qué redes de afecto tramaban la vida de trans, maricas y lesbianas en la España de los setenta? Esta sesión se plantea el modo de reelaborarlas desde el presente a través de relaciones intergeneracionales, procesos performativos e investigaciones situadas que problematizan las nociones convencionales de memoria y archivo. MILITANCIAS trata sobre la pervivencia – muchas veces inconsciente – en las luchas sexo-disidentes actuales de las políticas de los años setenta. Esto se aborda en forma de diálogo entre activistas, especialistas y militantes historicxs y en activo. En resumen, Millones de perversas pretende conseguir que sean de nuevo transitables fórmulas colectivas de lucha, explora genealogías de ciertos planteamientos transgresores sobre la sexualidad y el género, y activa en nuestro presente los usos políticos de las memorias de la radicalidad sexual que el tiempo y sus narraciones oficiales han difuminado.

26/6/2017

Presentación. Visita a exposiciones “Anarchivo Sida” y “¿Archivo Queer?”. Performance “Tensiones en un ángulo de 90º” de Laura Corcuera.


Mesa redonda con la participación de Silvia Reyes, Rampova y Luis Escribano. Moderan Juan Vicente Aliaga y Juan Antonio Suárez.


Mesa redonda con Elena Castro, Meri Torras y Txus García. Moderan Alberto Mira y Lucas Platero.

27/6/2017

Tres activaciones: Un secreto de tu abuela se enrarece entre tus mejillas, de Ana Pol y Mónica Almagro; Memorias escondidas, del colectivo Rodando pichi; El archivo de Emilio: “Deja de sufrir, estúpido”, de Marta Echaves, Alejandro Simón y Jesús Bravo.


Mesa redonda con Rosa Medina Doménech, María José Belbel y Dolors Ribalta. Modera Noemí de Haro.


Mesa redonda con Kerman Calvo, Maite Irazábal, Ramón Linaza y Carmen Monzonís. Modera Alberto Berzosa.


Performance “40 años SON” del colectivo O.R.G.I.A


Mesa redonda con Javi Larrauri, Leticia Rojas, Mónica Redondo y Pablo Andrade. Moderada por Gracia Trujillo.

Families of choice: old age, care, relations. Reflexions on focus group/ Rodziny z wyboru: starosc, opieka i relacje. Refleksje z wywiadow grupowych

A brief report from CRUSEV Poland’s seminar featuring Joanna Mizielinska, Justyna Struzik and Agnieszka Krol from the “Families of Choice in Poland” research project

The second public seminar organized by the Polish CRUSEV team was held at the University of Warsaw on Wednesday, October 25. Our guests were Dr Joanna Mizielinska, Dr Justyna Struzik and Agnieszka Krol, researchers from the “Families of Choice in Poland” research project (2013-2016). They began with presenting a general overview of their sociological study which was centered around the contemporary reality of non-normative families living in Polish cities, before moving to address the specific issue of senior LGBT+ members and their outlook on queer life today and in the past. Some of the points that were raised during the seminar included the different approaches to (and evaluations of) coming-out as they were discussed by respondents aged 55+; the gendered differences in constructing autobiographical narratives; and the various strategies adopted by respondents in order to position themselves within both the wider LGBT+ community, as well as the entire Polish society. The meeting was attended by academics and students from the University of Warsaw and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as some participants of the research.

Inventing History: Polish Literature, Queers, and Mapping the Past/Wymyslanie historii. Literatura polska, queer i mapa przeszlosci

Report from CRUSEV Poland’s first public seminar, including remarks from Dr Blazej Warkocki

The first public seminar held by the Polish CRUSEV team was held at the University of Warsaw on Wednesday, September 27. Dr Blazej Warkocki, CRUSEV Researcher, offered remarks on preoccupation with the queer past in recent Polish literature. He argued that the tendency to investigate and narrate the past is evident in comparison with an earlier emphasis on representations of queer positionality here and now. In his lecture, Warkocki described the 1970s as a pre-political period, prior to all forms of organized queer activism. He gave examples of relatively unknown queer writers from the 1970s and the early 1980s, such as Grzegorz Musiol and Malgorzata Lavergne, and he discussed some popular films and novels that feature cross-dressing or include overt reference to queers. A lively discussion ensued, focusing especially on the real-socialist decades, including the Seventies. The meeting was attended by academics and students from the University of Warsaw, the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Hanging out in Derek Jarman’s warehouse

In this essay commissioned with LUX, Crusev’s Glyn Davis addresses Derek Jarman’s use of the warehouse as a film-making space.

Glyn Davis
6 Sep 2017

In 1994, an episode of the BBC television documentary strand Arena focused on the queer English filmmaker Derek Jarman. It served as the premiere of Glitterbug, a compilation of Jarman’s Super-8 films, created in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Glitterbug was preceded by a brief contextualising introduction that included an interview with Jarman, in which he discussed the experience of making and screening his films in warehouse spaces in London in the 1970s: “It was a really amusing thing to do”, he said, “because everyone came to watch them. So I used to hold these parties, wonderful parties. And everyone would come. Nobody paid any attention to the films whatsoever. They were all there, they all brought cushions and lay on the floor. We showed a proper film – 16mm, something, you know, a proper feature film, and then we would end up with the Super 8.”[1] This anecdote is often repeated, in slightly varied iterations, in histories of Jarman’s 1970s era – many of those repetitions admittedly authored by Jarman himself – recurring and sealing into lore a distinctive sense of a space and supportive queer group conducive to innovative creative practice.

Read the essay in full at LUX.

Glyn Davis is Reader in Screen Studies at Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. He is the Project Leader of the three-year HERA-funded ‘Cruising the 1970s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures’ project. Recent publications include the co-edited Warhol in Ten Takes (BFI, 2013) and the co-authored Film Studies: A Global Introduction (Routledge, 2015), as well as contributions to the journals AnikiCinema JournalMIRAJ, and Screen. Glyn is currently completing a book manuscript entitled The Exhausted Screen: Cinema, Boredom, Stasis.

Image: Derek Jarman at Bankside

Cruising as method and its limits

What does it mean to see the action of cruising as a method for something that is not sexual? CRUSEV’s Fiona Anderson explores in her essay produced in collaboration with LUX

Fiona Andersom
23 August 2017

sometimes I find myself wondering
if the castle is a castle at all
a place apart, or merely
the castle that every snail
must carry around till his death

Thom Gunn, ‘Jack Straw’s Castle’ (1975)

In Rosalind Nashashibi’s film Jack Straw’s Castle (2009), the performative staging crucial to the act of cruising in a public place is so central that it is the film’s primary subject. Indeed, there is little action beyond it. Bright daylight turns to dusk, birds sing, and leaves are rustled. People, mostly men, move in and out of the frame, some intentionally, others unwittingly. The film’s action moves from tracing the homoerotic labour of men looking for sex with other men in public to recording the manual labour required in the production of a film.

Men and women pass instructions between each other as they install a scaffold tower in the depths of the cruising ground of Hampstead Heath. There is a suggestive precarity to this work and to the scene that it sets up; as night falls, the crew replace the daylight with bright, yellow artificial lamps that face on to the scaffolding itself. They fake the glow that we, the viewers, know illuminated this wooded area at the beginning of the film and before the appearance of the crew. They resist the passage of time, from day to night, which seemed to be the film’s only obvious narrative action. We seem to be moving back in time as we move between staged fantasy and reality, looking for sex in this footage of a cruising site as much as we try and determine the narrative thrust of the film. We don’t find either.

Read the rest of the essay here.

Dr Fiona Anderson is Lecturer in Art History in the Fine Art department at Newcastle University. At the moment, she is completing a book on the art and gay cruising scenes on New York’s derelict waterfront in the years immediately preceding the HIV/AIDS epidemic, looking most closely at the work of David Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar, and working on a new project on the culture and politics of the drug AZT. She’s the UK PI for CRUSEV Cruising the Seventies.

Image: Jack Straw’s Castle, Rosalind Nashashibi, 2009, Installation view at LUX, 2017.

Off the Streets, Into the Toilets!

Mark Siegal discusses artist’s memorialisations of Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Klappensex in the second essay commissioned in partnership with Lux

Marc Siegel
15 Aug 2017
German writer Martin Arz recently initiated a project to memorialize Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Freddie Mercury with a decorated pissoir on Holzplatz in the Glockenbachviertel of Munich, a queer area of town. This is a historic pissoir that Fassbinder and Mercury apparently used – maybe even at the same time.[1] The idea of commemorating Fassbinder with a urinal of his own is not such a misguided or isolated gesture.

In 2008 the Swedish techno DJ and producer, Jesper Dahlbäck collaborated with Canadian DJ/producer, The Dove (aka Tiga Sontag) on the music project called Rainer Werner Bassfinder. Stills from Fassbinder’s Faustrecht der Freiheit (Fox and His Friends, 1975) adorned the record covers. In an interview in 2007, actor and Fassbinder’s former wife, Ingrid Caven was asked to recount the time when the two of them decided to get married. “Oh, it was really moving. He always went to the tearoom and afterwards we walked around the neighborhood. Then one evening we slept together.” [2]

Klappensex, tearoom sex or cottaging – call it what you will – was obviously a part of Fassbinder’s life and, as I will suggest here, a continuous presence in his films as well. And why shouldn’t it have been? Men have been having sex in public comfort stations since the first pissoirs were installed in Paris in the mid-19th century. But the indisputable fact of men seeking sex with other men in public toilets has long been a thorn in the side of a gay political movement and gay and lesbian organizations seeking social acceptance and political rights. Aside from its questionable legality, the promiscuous pursuit of sexual pleasure with a variety of nameless men in the seedy spaces of public toilets hasn’t seemed to jell with the ideals of a movement that privileges a proud assertion of sexual identity and the restriction of sexual acts to the privatized – preferably state certified – form of the couple. The operative strategy of the lesbian and gay liberation movements, in Germany as elsewhere, was coming out , a belief in the positive psychological, social and political effects of assuming and proudly asserting a public, visible identity as gay or lesbian. Facilitating this act of coming out was a narrative of leaving behind the spaces and practices thought to be associated with shame and compulsion, the spaces, which collected together, form the so-called closet. If we take Rosa von Praunheim’s seminal film Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation in der er lebt (It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives, 1971) as a reference, it would appear that the key physical space associated with the metaphorical closet was the public toilet.

Read the rest at Lux.

Marc Siegel is currently Professor of Film Studies at the Freie Universität in Berlin and a Senior Researcher in the Research Training Program “Configurations of Film” at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. He is the author of numerous articles in the areas of queer studies and experimental film. His book A Gossip of Images is forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Image: Cover of Rainer Werner Bassfinder LP (2008); Image from Fox and His Friends (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1975).

Did it even happen? Cruising hidden desire through camera lens in Piotr Majdrowicz’s Misunderstanding (1978)

In the first of a series of essays commissioned in partnership with LUX, Aleksandra Gajowy discusses relations between the norms and homosexual desire in Misunderstanding, an unprecedented work from communist Poland

Aleksandra Gajowy
1 Aug 2017

Et maintenant par la grâce de l’imaginaire, bon voyage!
– Guy Hocquenghem, Le Gay Voyage

Picture a scene: young sportsmen at the end of a running competition. Their muscles flexed in the last effort to make it to the finishing line. Then, the race complete, they let their bodies soften, relax. They stroll slowly off the track, shaking hands, chatting lazily. This is where Piotr Majdrowicz’s 1978 film, Nieporozumienie (Misunderstanding), begins.

This first scene itself wouldn’t, perhaps, be worthy of a particular attention. To a Polish viewer especially, it resembles an all-too-familiar format of the Polish Film Chronicle, a series of short propaganda documentaries shown before cinema screenings between 1944 and 1995, and often replayed by the public television today for entertainment.[1] The videos, particularly pre-1989, portrayed prosperous daily life in communist Poland, as well as significant events, such as celebrations of national holidays or sporting events. The material was accompanied by a light-hearted commentary praising the quality of life under communism. At first glance, then, the scene described above could well be an outtake from a Chronicle, emphasising agility and commendable sporting spirit of Polish youth; and yet, a sense of confusion appears. The background music – a slow piano tune – seems ill-synchronised, disrupting the dynamism of the scene. Gradually, it transpires that the camera gaze fixates on one runner in particular, in a transition so subtle it only becomes evident on a close inspection. Then, we see a series of photographs of the same athlete, carefully handled by someone’s hands. A short shot of a melancholic young man’s face – presumably the photographer – is interrupted by the opening credits. What are we witnessing? What is the dynamic at play?

Read the essay in full at LUX.


Aleksandra Gajowy
is a PhD researcher in Art History at Newcastle University. Her doctoral project focuses on representations and ontology of queer body in performance and body art in Poland since the 1970s until present, with particular focus on censorship, Catholic Church, and HIV/AIDS narratives. Her research is funded by the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership, the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has presented parts of this research at international annual conferences such as Association of Art Historians (Edinburgh, 2016; Loughborough, 2017) and College Art Association (New York, 2017). She will chair a session on queer spaces in visual arts at the Universities Art Association of Canada annual conference (Banff, 2017) and is currently working on a journal article which will be published in Art Margins later this year.

Image: Piotr Majdrowicz, Misunderstanding (1978). Film still.

You, dear Doctor, are my only rescue! / Jest Pan, Panie Doktorze, jedynym ratunkiem!

Tuesday 8 August 2017
Basic Mountain, Edinburgh

A performance installation by Agnieszka Koscianska and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay. In socialist Poland, sexologists who ran columns in youth magazines received thousands of letters…

A performance installation by Agnieszka Koscianska and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay

Tuesday 8th August 2017
17:30 – 19:00

Basic Mountain
1 Hill St, Edinburgh EH2 3JP

In socialist Poland, sexologists who ran columns in youth magazines received thousands of letters: “I’m a lesbian”; “Homosexuality is the most horrible sexual perversion. I experienced it personally, and consider this my life’s tragedy…”; “I’m 20 years old and I’m afraid of the future because my body is developing as a woman, while my soul is developing as a man”. Readers asked for help: “I’m in trouble and I don’t know how to get out of it”; shared: “People who love differently can be happy!”; or called for action: “Ladies, if you feel that destiny has hurt you by making you love women, write!”. Sexologists not only printed these letters, but also empathized with the authors, and modified their scientific views in order to answer concerns of their queer readers. As a result, these patient-oriented sex columns were the space of dialogue, and up to the mid-1980s, the only mainstream forum where queer voices could be heard.

A selection of these letters, collected by visiting anthropologist and historian of sexuality Agnieszka Koscianska, serve as source material for a performance installation in which an ensemble of performers reviews, transcribes and reads aloud passages in Polish and English. The performance seeks to reveal the shifting, overlapping positions of queers in Poland struggling to define their identities, build communities and take control of their destinies, painting a portrait of the evolving sexual consciousness of the era.

W PRL seksuolodzy piszacy do prasy mlodziezowej dostawali tysiace listow: „Jestem lesbijka”; „Najpotworniejszym ze zboczen seksualnych jest homoseksualizm. Doswiadczam tego na wlasnej skorze, co uwazam za swoja zyciowa tragedie”. „Mam 20 lat i obawiam si? przyszlosci, poniewaz cialo moje rozwija sie w kierunku kobiecym, a dusza w meskim”. Czytelnicy prosili o pomoc: „Jestem w klopocie i nie wiem, jak z tego wybrnac”; zwierzali sie: „Ludzie kochajacy inaczej moga byc szczesliwi!”; wzywali innych do dzialania: „Dziewczyny, jezeli czujecie sie skrzywdzone przez los miloscia do kobiet, napiszcie!”. Seksuolodzy nie tylko publikowali te listy, lecz takze wczuwali sie w problemy autorow i rewidowali swoje poglady, by pomoc queerowym czytelnikom. W rezultacie te zorientowane na potrzeby pacjentow rubryki staly sie przestrzenia dialogu i do polowy lat 80. XX wieku jedynym miejscem w kulturze glownego nurtu, gdzie mozna bylo uslyszec glosy odmiencow.

Performance wyrasta z listow do seksuologa zebranych przez antropolozke i historyczke seksualnosci Agnieszke Koscianska. W jego trakcie grupa performerow przepisze odrecznie i odczyta na glos ich fragmenty po polsku i po angielsku. Akcja jest proba pokazania sytuacji seksualnych i plciowych odmiencow w socjalistycznej Polsce i ich walki o zdefiniowanie wlasnych tozsamosci, zbudowanie wspolnoty i przejecie kontroli nad swoim losem. Kresli tym samym portret ewoluujacej swiadomosci seksualnej epoki PRL.

Tickets for the event are free and can be booked via EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/you-dear-doctor-are-my-only-rescue-tickets-36510565083

Project Concept:
Agnieszka Koscianska
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay

Performance:
Colin Herd
Agnieszka Koscianska
Damian Matwiejuk
Michal Petryk
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
Nat Raha
Ewelina Rydzewska

Production:
Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures
Polish-English Translation:
Marta Rozmyslowicz

Agnieszka Koscianska’s research in Edinburgh is funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Caledonian Research Fund.

Accessibility: Please note that the performance space at Basic Mountain has no wheelchair access. The performance space is up two flights of stairs and the venue does not have a lift. We are unable to provide BSL interpretation or live transcription for this event.

 

Cruising the Past

Sunday 13 August 2017
LUX, London

This day workshop explores cruising as a method for tracing the queer past and surviving in the present and future, drawing on Fiona Anderson and Laura Guy’s research into pre-HIV/AIDS queer social and sexual cultures, regeneration, and community building in the 1970s.

One Day Workshop
Sunday 13 August 2017
11:00 – 17:00 BST

LUX
Dartmouth Park Hill
London N19 5JF
UK

This day workshop explores cruising as a method for tracing the queer past and surviving in the present and future, drawing on Fiona Anderson and Laura Guy’s research into pre-HIV/AIDS queer social and sexual cultures, regeneration, and community building in the 1970s. Participants will be invited, collectively, to explore ways that queer archival material and artists’ moving image work might be cruised in turn in order to uncover forgotten histories and foreground queer communities in danger of being lost or obscured in the present. Through group discussion and film screenings, we will devise methods of sharing this material with each other through writing, performance, and site-specific activities.

This event is part of LUX’s summer long programme CRUISING GROUND. CRUISING GROUND brings together a range of perspectives and discourses on cruising. The programme engages with the 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which decriminalised private homosexual acts between two men over the age of twenty-one. A programme of screenings, workshops and events has been developed in collaboration with CRUSEV.

Please register for the workshop via EventBrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/cruising-the-past-tickets-36480406879

Accessibility information will be posted here shortly.

Agnieszka Koscianska – Zobaczyc losia / To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet

The new book by Crusev’s Agnieszka Koscianska guides readers through developments in the field of sex education in Poland throughout the 20th century.

Crusev’s Agnieszka Koscianska has recently published Zobaczyc losia. Historia polskiej edukacji seksualnej od pierwszej lekcji do internetu  / To See a Moose. The History of Polish Sex Education from the First Lesson to the Internet. The book is published by Czarne, based in Wolowiec, Poland. The blurb of the book in English is below.

This history of struggles against ignorance and double standards starts towards the end of the 19th century, when men learned sex from prostitutes, and when the prevalence of shameful diseases was an open secret. Koscianska guides readers through developments in the field of sex education throughout the 20th century. How did it come to be, that at the beginning of this new age storks suddenly ceased to deliver babies and stories about the birds and the bees no longer satisfied curious girls and boys? What does intercourse have to do with spotting moose? How was sex described in a school textbook scrapped by the communists for fear of offending religious sentiment? Finally, could folk songs convey more information than progressive self-help books? Among Koscianska’s protagonists are women and men who had the courage to change how sex was written about. Yet readers will be urged to keep their critical hats on in assessing the contributions of the cult figures of Polish sexology. This work is the first to critically examine Polish sex education in the 20th century.

The book contains an extensive chapter on changing attitudes towards homosexuality and transsexuality in Polish sex education, sexual counselling and sexology in the 20th century, with a special focus on the 1970s. In this chapter, the author draws on various sources to reconstruct those changes: interviews with sexologists, sexual educators, and LGBTQ persons who remember the 1970s, as well as letters sent to sexologists, sex columns in the popular press, and sex education manuals. She argues that the long 1970s were a crucial decade that set the stage for the development of LGBTQ politics and self-organization in the late 1980s and in the 1990s. By reconstructing the dialogue between sexologists and their patients/readers on sexual orientation and gender identity, the book shows the processes that contributed to the formation of today’s debate over LGBTQ rights, politics and identity.

For further details, and to order the book in Polish, click here.

Seminario Millones de perversas. La radicalidad sexual en los años setenta/Millions of perverts. Sexual radicality in the seventies

26-27 June 2017
CentroCentro y Conde Duque, Madrid

Millions of perverses aims to make collective formulas of struggle again accessible, explores genealogies of certain transgressive approaches to sexuality and gender, and activates in our present the political uses of the memories of sexual radicality that time and his official narrations have blurred.

Lugar: CentroCentro y Conde Duque
Fechas: 26 y 27 de junio de 2017

El 26 de junio de 1977 las travestis, trans, bolleras y maricas organizadas salieron a la calle en Barcelona para pedir la derogación de la Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social. Reclamaban con su voz y sus cuerpos la libertad sexual secuestrada bajo el franquismo. Rambla abajo, ocuparon el espacio público con identidades y formas de vida que hasta ese momento solo habían podido expresarse en espacios marginales o privados. La manifestación (no autorizada) duró hasta que aparecieron los grises.

Podemos considerar esta manifestación un momento de condensación de los movimientos de liberación homosexual que venían articulándose desde hacía tiempo. Visibilizar hoy la discontinuidad entre las subjetividades de aquellas perversas y el marco en que se fue fraguando el pacto político y social durante la transición a la democracia nos permite, cuarenta años después, actualizar el potencial crítico de sus discursos y prácticas corporales y vitales.

Con el seminario Millones de perversas tratamos de invocar la memoria de esos sujetos y movimientos impugnando una narrativa hegemónica centrada en la supuesta conquista progresiva de derechos LGTBIQ. Las distintas sesiones de este seminario se plantean reactivar aquellas disruptivas políticas y poéticas.

POÉTICAS presta atención a lo que sucedía en lugares concretos – como la efervescente Barcelona postfranquista o los espacios expresivos lésbicos de los años setenta – en un intento de dar claves para entender las poéticas desplegadas desde el ámbito de las culturas sexuales radicales de aquella década.

REDES Y AFECTOS. ¿Qué redes de afecto tramaban la vida de trans, maricas y lesbianas en la España de los setenta? Esta sesión se plantea el modo de reelaborarlas desde el presente a través de relaciones intergeneracionales, procesos performativos e investigaciones situadas que problematizan las nociones convencionales de memoria y archivo.

MILITANCIAS trata sobre la pervivencia – muchas veces inconsciente – en las luchas sexo-disidentes actuales de las políticas de los años setenta. Esto se aborda en forma de diálogo entre activistas, especialistas y militantes historicxs y en activo.

En resumen, Millones de perversas pretende conseguir que sean de nuevo transitables fórmulas colectivas de lucha, explora genealogías de ciertos planteamientos transgresores sobre la sexualidad y el género, y activa en nuestro presente los usos políticos de las memorias de la radicalidad sexual que el tiempo y sus narraciones oficiales han difuminado.

Entrada libre hasta completar aforo

PROGRAMA. CentroCentro y Conde Duque

Lunes 26 de junio

PRESENTACIÓN. Conde Duque

12:00 h. Presentación

12:15 h. Visitas a las exposiciones Anarchivo sida y Archivo Queer

13:00 h. Laura Corcuera. Tensiones en un ángulo de 90º (performance)

POÉTICAS. CentroCentro. Auditorio Caja de Música

17:00 h. Barcelona y otras escenas. Mesa redonda con la participación de Luis Escribano, Rampova y Silvia Reyes

19:00 h. Poéticas lésbicas. Mesa redonda con la participación de Meri Torras, Elena Castro y Txus García

Martes 27 de junio

REDES DE AFECTOS. CentroCentro. Sala Sigfrido Martín Begué

10:00 h. Tres activaciones: Un secreto de tu abuela se enrarece entre tus mejillas, de Ana Pol y Mónica Almagro; Memorias escondidas, del colectivo Rodando pichi; El archivo de Emilio: “Deja de sufrir, estúpido”, de Marta Echaves, Alejandro Simón y Jesús Bravo

12:15 h. Descanso

12:45 h. Reflexiones en torno a los afectos lésbicos. Años 70, un debate abierto. Mesa redonda con Rosa Medina Doménech, María José Belbel y Dolors Ribalta.

MILITANCIAS. CentroCentro. Auditorio Caja de Música

17:00 h. Proyección de los cortos Abajo la ley de peligrosidad social (José R. Ahumada, 1977) y Manifestación per lAlliberament Sexual en el Pais Valencia (Miquel Alamar i Berenguer / Pedro Ortuño, 1979-2015). Presentación a cargo de José R. Ahumada.

17:30 h. Los activismos de los años 70. Mesa redonda con Kerman Calvo, Maite Irazábal, Ramón Linaza y Carmen Monzonís

19:00 h. 40 años SON, de O.R.G.I.A (performance)

19:30 h. Proyección de fragmentos de Testigos de un tiempo maldito (Javi Larrauri, 2012) y mesa redonda Los activismos hoy, con Javi Larrauri, Leticia Rojas, Mónica Redondo y Pablo Andrade

Más información

El seminario Millones de perversas forma parte de las actividades del Proyecto de Investigación Europeo Cruising the 1970s-CRUSEV (integrado por Alejandro Melero, Alberto Mira, Alberto Berzosa, Francisco Godoy, Gracia Trujillo, Jesús Carrillo, Josep-Anton Fernàndez, Juan Antonio Suárez, Juan Vicente Aliaga, Lucas Platero, María Rosón, Noemí de Haro García, Virginia Villaplana Ruiz)

Our Desire is a Revolution: Images of sexual diversity in the Spanish State (1977-2017) – Exhibition, Madrid

An exhibition, curated by Juan Guardiola and Juan Suárez, of the LGBTQ audiovisual culture in Spain since the first demonstration in defence of the rights of gays and lesbians in September 1977 in Barcelona.

CENTROCENTRO CIBELES DE CULTURA Y CIUDADANÍA
Plaza de Cibeles, 1
28014 Madrid

23 Junio – 01 Octubre 2017/21st June – 1st October 2017

*

[Spanish, English translation follows]

Una revisión de la cultura audiovisual LGBTQ en España desde la primera manifestación en defensa de los derechos de gays y lesbianas en septiembre de 1977 en Barcelona, hito que marca el inicio de la militancia sexual en nuestro país, hasta el presente.

Nuestro deseo es una revolución muestra cómo diversas prácticas artísticas y discursivas gays, lésbicas y queer han combinado los lenguajes de las vanguardias artísticas y la iconografía y modos de hacer de las subculturas de la calle para politizar la representación del cuerpo y la sexualidad, para cuestionar el funcionamiento de las esferas pública y privada y para releer la historia hegemónica que invisibiliza a los sujetos marginales.

La vocación experimental y abiertamente política de la imagen queer ha quedado relativamente relegada en décadas recientes, tras los años álgidos de la crisis del SIDA, debido a la asimilación de la sexualidad gay-lésbica-queer a un nicho de mercado y al auge de reivindicaciones más orientadas a la gestión del ámbito privado (derecho al matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo) que a la transformación colectiva de la sociedad, como pretendía gran parte del activismo de los años setenta y del movimiento queer posterior.

Frente a estas estrategias de normalización, esta exposición recuerda la tradición de experimentación formal ligada a la disidencia sexual en el arte, una experimentación motivada por la conciencia de que para dar cuenta de una revolución sexual y social sin precedentes, aún en marcha, había que reinventar los modos de crear y narrar, de articular imágenes y de utilizar los medios artísticos.

Artistas y colectivos presentes en la muestra:

Carlos Aires, Florencia Aliberti, Pedro Almodóvar y Fabio McNamara, Alexander Apóstol, Manu Arregui, Cecilia Barriga, Biel Capllonch, Tino Casal, Gabriel Casas, Eduardo Chicharro, Javier Codesal, Joan Colom, Fito Conesa, Xavier-Daniel, Diego del Pozo, Luis María Delgado, David Domingo, Lucía Egaña, Pepe Espaliú, Jacinto Esteva, Alex Francés, Carmela García, Miguel Ángel Gaüeca, Jean Genet, Coco Guzmán, Juan Hidalgo, William James, Jana Leo, LSD, Jesús Martínez Oliva, Marisa Maza, Pepe Miralles, Joan Morey, Nazario (Nazario Luque Vera), Ocaña, Pedro Ortuño Mengual, Alvaro Perdices, Pablo Pérez Mínguez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta, Ventura Pons, Gregorio Prieto, Rodrigo (Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester), José Romero Ahumada, Francesc Ruiz, Azucena Vieites, Virginia Villaplana Ruiz e Iván Zulueta.

Cabello/Carceller (Helena Cabello y Ana Carceller), Costus (Juan Carrero y Enrique Naya), Dias & Riedweg (Mauricio de Mello Dias y Walter Stephan Riedweg), Els 5 QK’s, Equipo Palomar (Mariokissme y R. Marcos Mota), Jeleton (María Angeles Alcántara y Jesús Arpal), Majo Post-Op, O.R.G.I.A (Beatriz Higón, Carmen Muriana y Tatiana Sentamans), Subtramas  (Virginia Villaplana Ruiz, Diego del Pozo, Montse Romaní), Toy Tool Films, Video-Nou.

Comisariado: Juan Guardiola y Juan Antonio Suárez

Detalles completos en CentroCentro

Imagen: José Romero Ahumada. Abajo la ley de peligrosidad social. 1977. Cortesía de autor@, Barcelona.

*

[English]

A review of the LGBTQ audiovisual culture in Spain since the first demonstration in defense of the rights of gays and lesbians in September 1977 in Barcelona, ??a milestone that marks the beginning of the sexual militancy in our country, until the present.

Our desire is a revolution shows how various artistic practices and discursive gay, lesbian and queer have combined the languages of the artistic avant-garde and the iconography and ways of doing the subcultures of the street to politicize the representation of the body and sexuality, to question the functioning of the public and private spheres and to re-read the hegemonic history that makes the marginal subjects invisible.

The experimental and openly political vocation of the queer image has been relatively relegated in recent decades, following the peak years of the AIDS crisis, due to the assimilation of gay-lesbian-queer sexuality to a market niche and the rise of demands more oriented to the management of the private sphere (the right to same-sex marriage) than to the collective transformation of society desired by much of the activism of the 1970s and of the later queer movement.

Faced with these strategies of normalization, this exhibition recalls the tradition of formal experimentation linked to sexual dissidence in art, an experimentation motivated by the awareness that in order to account for an unprecedented sexual and social revolution, still in To reinvent the ways of creating and narrating, articulating images and using artistic means.

Artists and collectives present in the exhibition: Carlos Aires, Florencia Aliberti, Pedro Almodóvar y Fabio McNamara, Alexander Apóstol, Manu Arregui, Cecilia Barriga, Biel Capllonch, Tino Casal, Gabriel Casas, Eduardo Chicharro, Javier Codesal, Joan Colom, Fito Conesa, Xavier-Daniel, Diego del Pozo, Luis María Delgado, David Domingo, Lucía Egaña, Pepe Espaliú, Jacinto Esteva, Alex Francés, Carmela García, Miguel Ángel Gaüeca, Jean Genet, Coco Guzmán, Juan Hidalgo, William James, Jana Leo, LSD, Jesús Martínez Oliva, Marisa Maza, Pepe Miralles, Joan Morey, Nazario (Nazario Luque Vera), Ocaña, Pedro Ortuño Mengual, Alvaro Perdices, Pablo Pérez Mínguez, Guillermo Pérez Villalta, Ventura Pons, Gregorio Prieto, Rodrigo (Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester), José Romero Ahumada, Francesc Ruiz, Azucena Vieites, Virginia Villaplana Ruiz and Iván Zulueta.

Cabello/Carceller (Helena Cabello y Ana Carceller), Costus (Juan Carrero y Enrique Naya), Dias & Riedweg (Mauricio de Mello Dias y Walter Stephan Riedweg), Els 5 QK’s, Equipo Palomar (Mariokissme y R. Marcos Mota), Jeleton (María Angeles Alcántara y Jesús Arpal), Majo Post-Op, O.R.G.I.A (Beatriz Higón, Carmen Muriana y Tatiana Sentamans), Subtramas (Virginia Villaplana Ruiz, Diego del Pozo, Montse Romaní), Toy Tool Films, Video-Nou.

Commissariat: Juan Guardiola and Juan Suárez

Complete information at CentroCentro (in Spanish)

Image: José Romero Ahumada. Under the law of social danger. 1977. Courtesy of author @, Barcelona.

How to do the History of sex – keynote speakers

Here are short abstracts for the two keynotes at our workshop, by Maria Pramaggiore and Lazlo Pearlman.

Below are short abstracts and biographies for the two keynote speakers for How to do the History of Sex, 26 May 2017 at the Edinburgh College of Art

 

Histories of Sex in Urban Ireland: Dublin’s Hirschfeld Centre
Professor Maria Pramaggiore (Maynooth University, Ireland)

Using as a case study the Hirschfeld Centre (1979-1988), one of the first openly queer spaces in Dublin and a site of LGBTQ+ activism arounds the AIDS epidemic, Maria’s paper will examine the political economy of urban spaces and the non-linear temporalities that inform queer community histories.

Professor Maria Pramaggiore is Professor and Head of Media Studies at Maynooth University. She has published widely on gender and sexuality in cinema and media. She is the author of three monographs, a co-authored film studies textbook, and a co-edited collection on bisexual culture.

 

What You See is What You Get: Visuality and Trans Performance
Lazlo Pearlman (University of Northumbria)

Since the late 1970s, autobiographical performance has been an important form in which LGBTQ and other ‘Othered’ identities can become ‘visible’, share our stories and bring awareness to issues affecting our lives. These performances have also always run the risk of essentializing identities and entrenching narratives – thereby losing potency – particularly in our 21st century neoliberal identity culture. My research asks “what can the Trans bodily identity do onstage when it does not talk about the Trans condition” and I take my jumping off point from Sandy Stone in ‘The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto’ (1991) when she suggests constituting Trans “[…] as a genre—a set of embodied texts whose potential for productive disruption of structured sexualities and spectra of desire has yet to be explored.” To this end I posit and explore the differences between ‘visible’ identity-based performances and what I establish as my own ‘visual’ (naked) Trans identity-based performance.

I explore here the idea that narrative ‘visibility’ in performance places the emphasis on the optical and the ‘viewed’ (the subject), and examine the foreclosure of possibility that I contend this can create. I will contrast this with the way performance that works with an idea of identity ‘visuality’ could redirect the emphasis onto the viewer and the haptic, and, in refusing to allow narrative to entrench, may incite Stone’s ‘productive disruption’. I will contextualize these ideas and findings via sections of my current Practice Research performance ‘Trans-O-Graphia/Dance Me to the End of Love’.

Lazlo Pearlman is a performance maker and theorist whose areas of interest and expertise are gender, performance and cultural-studies, queer theory, transgender studies, intersectional feminism and critical race theory. He is a Lecturer at the University of Northumbria and has published and presented his work widely.

Image: Lazlo Pearlman by Jeri Poll, from www.lazlopearlman.com

 

A Golden Age for Queer Sexual Politics? Lesbian and Gay Literature and Film in 1970s Germany – Programme

Thursday 20 – Saturday 22 July 2017
Humboldt University, Berlin

This conference aims to explore the queer appeal of the 1970s by both highlighting their legendary aspects and questioning the historical construction of the decade.

International Conference
Thursday 20 July – Saturday 22 July 2017

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institute for German Literature
Research Center for the Cultural History of Sexuality

Conception and Organization: Janin Afken, Andreas Kraß, Benedikt Wolf

Click here to view the complete programme

 

Historical accounts of the German 1970s lesbian and gay movement(s) often draw the picture of a legendary decade, a golden age for queer sexual politics and culture. This view is dependent not only on the historic facts themselves, but also – and significantly – on the way in which they are narrated in literature and film, both of the 1970s themselves and of our times. However, what exactly made the 1970s a “legendary decade”? What was its revolutionary potential and what were its path-breaking political and aesthetic strategies? Which elements, movements and memories had to be marginalized in order to facilitate the historical construction of the “legendary decade”?

This conference aims to explore the queer appeal of the 1970s by both highlighting their legendary aspects and questioning the historical construction of the legendary decade. The conference focuses on the representation and construction of the queer 1970s in literature and film and highlights the process of cultural canonization and the differences between male and female homosexual expression.

 

Thursday, 20 July 2017, Kino Arsenal, Potsdamer Straße 2

6.30 pm: Welcoming Speeches by Ulrike Vedder, Andreas Kraß, Glyn Davis

7 pm: Madame X – Eine absolute Herrscherin Madame X.  Film screening (German original with English subtitles) with an introduction by the director Ulrike Ottinger

 

Friday, 21 July 2017, Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56

9:30 am: Introduction by Benedikt Wolf

9:50 am: “We were so turned on”. Reflections on Queer(ing) Past and Memory. Keynote by Susanne Hochreiter (Vienna). Chair: Tomasz Basiuk (Warsaw)

10:50 am: Coffee break

11:10 am: Session 1: The Canonized Queer 1970s, Chair: N.N.

  • Janin Afken (Berlin): From Sisters’ Skin to Womb Ego. Solidarity and Corporeality in Verena Stefan’s Shedding (1975)
  • Patsy l’Amour laLove (Berlin): A Legend of Gay Emancipation: Rosa von Praunheim’s Movie “Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die Situation, in der er lebt” (1971)
  • Benedikt Wolf (Berlin): Hubert Fichte’s Language of Desire. From “the Unchaste” to “Oymeln” in the Hamburg novels

12:40 pm: Lunch break

2 pm: Queers Give Me Pause. Keynote by Marc Siegel (Frankfurt a.M./Berlin). Chair: Juan Suárez (Murcia).

3 pm: Coffee break

3:20 pm: Session 2: Contesting the Canon, Chair: Hannes Hacke (Berlin)

  • Chris Auld (Ormskirk): Camp Subversion in the Films of R.W. Fassbinder
  • Vojin Saša Vukadinovic (Zurich): Aesthetics, Critique, Satire. Die Schwarze Botin and the Promise of Revolution
  • Peter Rehberg (Berlin): Bärtige Männer nackt auf Matratzenlager“: Post and Pre-Aids Representations of Gay Masculinity

4:50 pm: Coffee break

5:10 pm: Session 3: Retrospections, Chair: Patsy l’Amour laLove (Berlin)

  • Maria Bühner (Leipzig): How to Remember Invisibility: Documentary Projects on Lesbians in the German Democratic Republic as Archives of Feelings
  • Sebastian Zilles (Siegen): The 1970s in Retrospective. HIV/AIDS-Discourses in German Literature

 

Saturday, 22 July 2017, Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56

9:30 am: Session 4: European Perspectives, Chair: Todd Sekuler (Berlin)

  • Alejandro Melero (Madrid): LGTB Representation and Film Censorship in German-Spanish Co-Productions During the Last Years of Franco’s Dictatorship (1970-1975)
  • Krzysztof Zablocki (Warsaw): Wolfgang Jöhling – a Builder of Bridges Between German and Polish LGBT Scenes
  • Juan A. Suárez (Murcia): The Operatic Tableau in Seventies Queer Cinema: Werner Schroeter, Adolpho Arrieta, Teo Hernández

11 am: Coffee break

11:30 am: Panel Discussion: Is There a Shared History of Lesbian Women and Gay Men in the 1970s? Antke Engel (Berlin), Michael Bochow (Berlin), Laura Guy (Edinburgh), NN., NN.; Chair: Fiona Anderson (Newcastle)

 

The conference is free to attend.

Contact and Registration until 7 July 2017: kulturgeschichte-sexualitaet@hu-berlin.de

 

Venues
Kino Arsenal, Potsdamer Straße 2, 10785 Berlin
Festsaal der Humboldt Graduate School, Luisenstraße 56, 10117 Berlin
Both of the venues are wheelchair accessible.

Conference Language is English

Image – still from Madame X.

Four Films by Jim Hubbard at the Cinema Museum, London

Shortly after World AIDS Day 2017, CRUSEV’s Fiona Anderson and EUROPACH hosted a screening and discussion with Hubbard about his life and work.

The American filmmaker Jim Hubbard has been making experimental films that explore lesbian and gay activism and community building since the mid-1970s. Today, Hubbard is perhaps best known for his work as an AIDS activist and historian of AIDS activism. In 2012, he directed and co-produced the documentary United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, a powerful account of the emergence of AIDS activism in New York in the mid-to-late 1980s from the perspective of members of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, with the activist and writer Sarah Schulman. Hubbard and Schulman also coordinate the ACT UP Oral History Project, a collection of interviews with surviving members of the group.

On 9th December 2016 – shortly after World AIDS Day 2017 – CRUSEV’s Fiona Anderson and members of the fellow HERA-funded project EUROPACH (Disentangling European HIV/AIDS Policies: Activism, Citizenship and Health) hosted a screening and discussion with Hubbard about his life and work at the Cinema Museum in London. For the screening, Hubbard selected four films which span the breadth of his practice, from poetic reflections on personal loss to documentary interviews, and dealt with themes of loss, memory, activism and empowerment.

In the late 1970s, Hubbard recorded protests against the filming of William Friedkin’s controversial movie Cruising in New York’s West Village on Super 8 film, using the material in a short work that he titled Stop the Movie Cruising (1980). Hubbard’s film switches between footage of street protests in the West Village, aiming to disrupt the filming of Cruising, and voyeuristic recordings of extras on the set, chatting, laughing, and dancing inside the leather bars by the waterfront like the Ramrod and the Eagle’s Nest in which Friedkin filmed. Filming the action from outside the bar, peering in, Hubbard utilised the vantage point of cruising in this work. Moving between the club and the street, between inside and outside, setting up clear parallels between the multiple queer bodies congregating, fictionally, in the bars and the crowds of queer activists rallying against the film in the streets of the Village.

Two Marches (1991), shot on 16mm film, juxtaposes scenes recorded at two national marches on Washington D.C.: the first and second National Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979 and 1987. Hubbard’s combination of footage, presented mostly in silence, makes clear the devastating and unanticipated changes that impacted queer communities in the US between the late 1970s and the late 1980s. Hubbard’s earlier film Elegy in the Streets (1989), also shot in 16mm, takes a similar approach, bringing together intimate footage of Hubbard’s former partner, the filmmaker Roger Jacoby, who died in 1985, and documentations of public demonstrations by ACT UP and the public unfurling of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt in 1987.

The event concluded with an excerpt from the documentary film Speak for Yourself (1990), in which the AIDS activists and ACT UP members Sarah Schulman and Maxine Wolfe shared their thoughts on the challenges facing activists as they seek to establish solidarity between the diverse communities affected by AIDS. This rarely screened footage provided a fascinating counterpoint to Hubbard and Schulman’s work with the ACT UP Oral History Project and the interviews which appear in Hubbard and Schulman’s film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP.

In a generous discussion with the audience after the screening, Hubbard shared his thoughts on new challenges facing LGBTQ activists in the present and the relationship between recent activism for marriage equality and the historic examples of AIDS activism documented in his film work. He also spoke about the distinctions between his recent work as a documentary filmmaker and his longstanding investment in experimental filmmaking and his desire to make non-narrative films which explore the emotional and visual experience of personal connection, loss, social exclusion, and activist world making in the time of AIDS and earlier. This collaborative event provided the CRUSEV and EUROPACH teams with an opportunity to cruise the queer visual cultures of the 1970s through Hubbard’s films, and trace the experience of activism, citizenship, and health from the 1970s to the present.

Photograph of attendees sat around small tables at the Cinema Museum. The tables are adorned with flowers and chequered green and white table cloth. To the left of the image is the bar, where two men with hats and beards stand, facing opposite directions.

Text and Photographs by Fiona Anderson.

Felix Rexhausen’s Estate

CRUSEV’s postdoctoral researcher Benedikt Wolf (Berlin) has been spending time working with Felix Rexhausen’s archive. He wrote the following report about his research.

CRUSEV’s postdoctoral researcher Benedikt Wolf (Berlin) has been spending time working with Felix Rexhausen’s archive. He wrote the following report about his research.

The life and works of German gay satirist and journalist Felix Rexhausen (1932-1992) provide a fascinating perspective on the German gay 1970s. After becoming quite well-known to the German general public through a satiric polemic against the reactionary structures in the federal state of Bavaria (‘Living with Bavarians’, 1963) and the fierce and partly hateful reactions to it, Rexhausen published political and/or satirical articles in newspapers and journals and positioned himself in the field of pre-1968 leftist and liberal critique of postwar West Germany. His first novel with homosexual content, ‘Lavender Sword’, published in 1966, imagined a future homosexual revolution. His satiric depiction and critique of both the homophobic majority and the conservative mindset of gay men on the eve of Gay Liberation, pioneered crucial conceptions of the German Gay Liberation movement, namely the twofold critique of homophobic society and male homosexuals, as conducted by Rosa von Praunheim (‘It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives’, 1971) or Martin Dannecker and Reimut Reiche (‘The Ordinary Homosexual’, 1974). His pioneering stance became manifest once more with the publication of the first male homosexual pornographic novel in post-war Germany, ‘Touches’ (1969), published under the pseudonym of Stefan David.

While basic research on Rexhausen’s published gay themed novels has been done already, his other publications have not yet been analyzed for their treatment of homosexuality. These publications include both contributions for non-gay media like newspapers and radio broadcasts and contributions to the post-1969 gay magazines ‘Du & Ich’ (‘You & Me’) and ‘him’.

Next to this published material exists a huge corpus of non-published texts that has not been visible until recently. Rexhausen’s estate is, for the most part, held by the Gay Museum* Berlin, which received most of the materials from the publishing house Männerschwarm. When I asked Wolfgang Cortjaens, the head of the archive of the Gay Museum* Berlin, if I could access Rexhausen’s estate, he told me that no one had looked into it thoroughly and that it had not been sorted and indexed yet. When I expressed my desire to do this work, he was very happy that these important materials would be researched and made accessible for public use.

The materials provide opportunities to examine the complicated ways in which Rexhausen transformed from a closeted homosexual man and politically conscious critic of post-war West Germany to an openly gay intellectual and writer. While he had not yet come out when publishing ‘Lavender Sword’ in 1966 and he published his pornographic ‘Touches’ under a pseudonym, he went on to publish articles in the gay press both under various pseudonyms and under his real name. On the title page of an unpublished manuscript titled ‘Fences: Scenes from the Bushes’ (written in 1964), parts of which were eventually included in ‘Lavender Sword’ and ‘Touches’, he crossed out the typewritten pseudonym of Hans Rudolf Ahrengall and replaced it with his real name. This apparent gesture of pride cannot be dated exactly, but has to be located in the context of change both in the situation of homosexuals in the FRG and in Rexhausen’s private life. In Rexhausen’s literary oeuvre he continued his play with authentic vs. fake authorship throughout the 1970s, for example by presenting himself as the collector and translator of poems he had in fact written himself (‘Lavender Steps’, 1978). In his unpublished texts from the archive, this play with names and literary identities is ubiquitous. There are characters like the strange countess Eckböhnel, presenting her memoirs and poems, including a drawing of her portrait. Most erratic is the character of the mysterious Selma Ada Hotop, from whom even a nameplate has survived in the estate and to whom various texts and drawings are ascribed. The play with this kind of personae leads to Hamburg’s cabaret scene, where Rexhausen seems to have played quite a distinct role, but about which little is known until today.

From the perspective of his estate, Rexhausen’s path from a closeted homosexual to an openly gay writer and journalist can be traced by looking at his play with names, fictitious characters and the strategic use of published vs. private or performative and ephemeral materials. The fact that this did not stop with the emergence of Gay Liberation, but rather transformed from a necessity dictated by the structure of the closet to an ironic tool used to satirically reflect on gay sexuality, opens up a fresh perspective on the German gay 1970s.