Presented as part of the Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference, this panel included the two presentations, followed by a discussion moderated by Delwar Hussain. Grinjo Joseph (Tezpur University) presented, ‘European Queer 70s and Becomings: Spatiality, Queerness and Bombay Dost’; and Paris-based artist and poet Tarek Lakhrissi presented, ‘Planets and stars and time travel: a French queer of color perspective of time’. The panel took place on the second day of the conference, on March 15, 2019, at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Abstracts of Joseph and Lahkrissi’s presentations can be read here. Photograph by Chris Belous.
Day 3 of Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now began with a discussion between Grietje Baars (City Law School, University of London) and Nat Raha (Edinburgh College of Art) about contemporary activism, poetry, and what queers can learn from the activist cultures of not only from the 1970s, but also the 1980s. Laura Guy moderated.
Day 3 of CRUSEV’s Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference concluded with a collective action of discussion and imagining led by CRUSEV UK team members Fiona Anderson and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay. Conference members were invited to engage in conversation about the core themes that the conference sought to address, which were printed on large banners spread across a theatre space at the Traverse Theatre. Themes included: Archiving, Imagining, Decolonizing, Translating, Border Crossing, Self-Fashioning, and Cruising. Participants were invited to create new banners or contribute to, edit, or otherwise modify the existing banners.
The Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference ended with Graham Bell Tornado‘s spectacular live performance, ANTITAINMENT ’70 at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. The musical cabaret performance combined singing, video projections and sociopolitical commentary focused on comparisons between British performers with their Spanish contemporaries, addressing the different levels of freedom experienced by queers in 1970s UK and post-Franco Spain. Photo by Conny Karlsson Lundgren.
Presented as part of the Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference, this panel included three presentations. The panel began with a short Q&A moderated by Fiona Anderson in which artist Liz Rosenfeld discussed her her performance lecture, Resisting Interpretation. This was followed by ‘Reflections on Hubert Fichte’s Essay on Puberty (1974)’, presented by William Martin (Al Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences); and ‘Harvesting Time: The Legacy of Jean Genet and the Post-Algerian French 1970s’, presented by Jackqueline Frost (Cornell University and Université Paris 8).The panel took place on the second day of the conference, on March 15, 2019, at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Abstracts of Martin and Frost’s presentations can be read here.
Presented as part of the Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference, this panel included the two presentations, followed by a discussion moderated by Roberto Filippello. Maria Bühner (Leipzig University) presented, ‘“I thought I was the only one that felt that way”: The 1970s as a turning point for the ways to feel about homosexuality in East Germany?’. Javier Cuevas del Barrio (Universidad de Málaga) presented, ‘Queer Theory, Visual Culture, and “emotional resistances” in Torremolinos (Spain) during the Sixties and Seventies’. The panel took place on the second day of the conference, on March 15, 2019, at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Abstracts of Bühner and Cuevas del Barrio’s presentations can be read here. Photograph by Chris Belous.
The second keynote discussion at Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now featured celebrated London-based artist Sunil Gupta speaking with University of Sussex scholar Flora Dunster about over four decades of producing images. Gupta presented a slideshow of images of photographs and print ephemera from exhibitions and publications of his projects from the 1970s through to today. Gupta and Dunster’s conversation took place on March 15, 2019 at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre. Photographs by Chris Belous.
Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now opened with a conversation between Royal Holloway professor Mandy Merck and University of Newcastle fellow Laura Guy. Merck charted a history of feminist, lesbian, and queer media cultures in the United Kingdom since the 1970s, accompanied by a slide show of archival images assembled by Merck and Guy. The event took place at the Wee Red Bar at the Edinburgh College of Art on March 14, 2019. Photographs by Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay.
Berlin-based artist Liz Rosenfeld narrated an hour-long performance lecture as the opening event on Day 2 of the Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference on March 15, 2019. The audience was led into a darkened theatre space at Traverse Theatre, where they heard Rosenfeld’s voice over speakers, but could not see her. Rosenfeld recounted the many ways cruising functions as a theme and method in her practice, pointing to key moments in her career, and screening three short videos that directly addressed the theme, including the premiere of Between Revolutions (2019). Audience members were invited to ‘cruise’ around the space while she spoke, moving from chair to chair, corner to corner, in the darkroom atmosphere Rosenfeld created.
As part of the opening day of CRUSEV’s Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now conference, Stockholm-based artist Conny Karlsson Lundgren presented his multi-media installation ‘(Dissident) Dance Actions’. The piece is the result of research Karlsson Lundgren undertook in the archives of Denmark’s Bøsseaktivisterna (The Gay Activists), and takes form in textiles, film, and a video in which three dancers reënact gestures from the group’s dance actions in the 1970s. Karlsson Lundgren led the audience of approximately fifty conference attendees through his research processes, and screened the moving image material. The event took place at Edinburgh’s Stills Gallery on March 14, 2019. Photographs by Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay and Nat Raha.
CRUSEV’s final conference, Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now began with a welcome event at the Edinburgh College of Art’s Wee Red Bar. Participants travelled from across the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Spain, Canada, the United States, Palestine, and India to attend the conference. Everyone assembled at the bar to register, pick up stylish CRUSEV conference merchandise, eat outrageously delicious donuts, listen to 70s music, meet old friends and colleagues, and make new ones. The CRUSEV team welcomed the crowd and initiated the first day of conference activity.
You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue!, an epistolary performance co-produced by CRUSEV’s Polish and UK teams, was presented on April 17 at Scala Cinema in Brno, Czech Republic. Programmed by Katerina Lisková of Masaryk University, the performance involved the transcribing, reading, and recirculating letters written to Socialist era Polish sexologists in the original Polish and in English and Czech translation.
Performer Anne Tuckova describes her experience of the Brno staging of You, Dear Doctor, Are My Only Rescue!: “…there were people who came specifically for the performance, and then there were also people coming and going tangential or separate from the performance, either going into the theatre to see a film or going to the bar to get a drink, and the bathroom door on the mezzanine really needs some oil! A bit of hub-bub and I thought it would be distracting. But … once we sat down to write the letters and read, all those things disappeared. And I thought — this is really a perfect metaphor for the queer experience, really much more than if it had been in a quiet room. Because we’re in the world, and the world goes on around us, and at the same time we’re part of the world. And sometimes the world ignores us — just running about its daily business. And sometimes it stops and stares. This is exactly what happened in this performance and I thought it was perfect. But what was also interesting is that once we started writing and reading, we were so absorbed in what we were doing that it really seemed as if each of us had a bubble around us, that we were individually very vulnerable (and more vulnerable for being exposed like that) and yet… in those moments of focus, that world beyond that bubble almost didn’t exist. I felt that this was a perfect echo of the text of the letters. The writers in those letters (and by extension, those of us who were re-writing and reading the letters) were living in a world that ignored them, that viewed them as curiosities, or something in between that, but the writers were venturing out past their own vulnerabilities into that space where they didn’t quite belong and making a space for themselves. And this was what we did as well. From this perspective, it seemed to me that our performance, our intervention, was a physical manifestation of the letters in a way that — had we been in a quiet, enclosed, art-designated space, would not have been as powerful. Having spoken to some people who were observing the performance, it seems they felt the same way — that we were vulnerable, that they needed to pay close attention to us and protect us with their attention, in some way.”
More details and documentation at https://sexualknowledge.fss.muni.cz/performance
Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 March 2019
Programme for CRUSEV UK’s conference, featuring artists, academics and activists exploring queer histories and cultural expressions of the 1970s offer the political present.
Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 March 2019
All events are free to attend and open to all. Please book free tickets for each day you intend to join us via Eventbrite.
Thursday 14th March
Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art
74 Lauriston Pl, Edinburgh EH3 9DF
Registration, Tea, Doughnuts
Welcome from the Organisers
3.15pm – 4.45pm
Opening in-conversation event: ‘Deviations and Conversions Seventies Style’ – Mandy Merck (Royal Holloway, University of London) with Laura Guy (Newcastle University)
4.45 – 5pm – Tea Break
5pm – 6.20pm
‘Spanish Underground Cinema and Queer Transnationalism’ – Film screening and discussion.
Teo Hernández, Images du bord de la mer, 1969, 36 mins
Iván Zulueta, Roma-Brescia, Cannes, 1974 (excerpt)
Celestino Coronado, The Lindsay Kemp Circus, 1973 [3-minute clip]
Stills, 23 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BP
7.30pm – 8.30pm*
‘(Dissident) Dance Actions’ – Screening and presentation by Conny Karlsson Lundgren, Artist
Friday 15th March
Traverse Theatre 2, 10 Cambridge St, Edinburgh EH1 2ED
10am – 11.15am*
‘Resisting Interpretation’ – Performance lecture by Liz Rosenfeld, Artist
(Please note that there’ll be no entry for the performance after 10.10am)
11.15 – 11.45am – Tea Break
11.45am – 12.45pm
Panel: ‘Queer Temporalities, Sexual Boundaries’
‘Reflections on Hubert Fichte’s Essay on Puberty (1974)’ – William Martin, Al Quds Bard College of Arts and Sciences
‘Harvesting Time: The Legacy of Jean Genet and the Post-Algerian French 1970s’ – Jackqueline Frost, Cornell University and Université Paris 8
12.45pm – 1.45pm – Lunch [provided]
1.45pm – 3.15pm
Panel: ‘Queer Colours of Archives’
‘European Queer 70s and Becomings: Spatiality, Queerness and Bombay Dost’ – Grinjo Joseph, Tezpur University
‘Patrick Kelly at Le Palace: Lost things, Dead Ends, and the Mythology of Visual Documentation’ – Sequoia Barnes, Edinburgh College of Art
‘Planets and stars and time travel: a French queer of color perspective of time’ – Tarek Lakhrissi, Artist, Poet and Writer.
3.15pm – Tea Break
3.45pm – 5.15pm
Panel: ‘Queer Feelings, Emotional Resistances’
‘Heteronormativity and the Repression of Lesbianism in the 1970s French Women’s Liberation Movement’ – Ilana Eloit, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
‘“I thought I was the only one that felt that way”: The 1970s as a turning point for the ways to feel about homosexuality in East Germany?’ – Maria Bühner, Leipzig University
‘Queer Theory, Visual Culture, and “emotional resistances” in Torremolinos (Spain) during the Sixties and Seventies’ – Javier Cuevas del Barrio, Universidad de Málaga
6pm – 7.30pm
‘Do you have place?’ – Keynote discussion with Sunil Gupta, Artist, and Flora Dunster (University of Sussex)
7.30pm Dinner [provided for speakers]
Saturday 16th March
Traverse Theatre 2, 10 Cambridge St, Edinburgh EH1 2ED
Lavender Menace Returns – book stall run by Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielsen, Traverse Theatre Bar
Traverse Theatre 2
10am – 11.15am
‘The place of the transfagbidyke is in the revolution’ – Discussion with Grietje Baars (City Law School, University of London) and Nat Raha (Edinburgh College of Art)
11.15 Tea Break
Panel: ‘Desiring Aesthetics’
‘And sex? Re-reading representations of queer desire in 1970s Polish artistic practices’ – Aleksandra Gajowy, Newcastle University
‘On Sequins and Shit. The Sense of Radical Dress in Mario Mieli’s Transsexual Utopia’ – Roberto Filippello, Edinburgh College of Art
‘“Nuremberg For Mothers”: Tony Duvert, French Boy Lovers and the problem of power’ – Paul Clinton, Goldsmiths, University of London
1.15pm – 2.30pm – Lunch [provided]
2.30pm – 3.30pm
Panel: ‘Self-fashioning, self-organising’
‘A personal journey into the radical past of a gay fetish club in Eindhoven, Netherlands’ – Sam Ashby, Artist / Filmmaker
‘Back to the Sweatshop: revisiting ‘early’ lesbian and gay theatre’ – Stephen Greer, University of Glasgow
3.30pm – Tea Break
4pm – 5.30pm
‘F*ck the Future: Imagining Queer Europe’
‘ANTITAINMENT ’70’ – Closing performance by Graham Bell Tornado, Artist
Reception, Traverse Theatre Bar
Live subtitling (speech-to-text transcription) will be provided for all discussions and presentations, except for the performances marked with an asterisk (*).
Films with sound will be subtitled in English
The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art
The Wee Red Bar has Ramped/Sloped Access and Automatic Doors. It is accessed from the main Edinburgh College of Art quad, between the temporary Reception and the Cafe. There are accessible toilets and gender neutral toilets within the building.
All areas of the building are fully accessible by wheelchair including lifts and toilets. Guide dogs are welcome.
From the Cambridge Street entrance there is level access to the box office. There is lift access to the bar café and theatres, and adapted toilets on the box office and bar café levels. We also have gender neutral toilets and everyone is free to use the toilets that best reflect their gender identity. Guide and hearing dogs are welcome. Please mention when booking if you require lift access to Traverse 1 or Traverse 2, and make yourself known to Front of House staff on arrival. The Front of House Manager will meet and accompany you to the theatre.
Organised by Cruising the Seventies, UK Team – Fiona Anderson, Glyn Davis, Nat Raha, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Moira Thomson
The turn of the 1970s in culture, science and politics
On January 12, 2019 the Polish CRUSEV team hosted the first seminar this year (and twelfth overall). The guest speaker was Maciej Gdula, professor of sociology at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Warsaw. In his lecture, Gdula proposed a critical reformulation of how to think about the 1970s in Poland, in many ways contrary to the dominating historical narrative. Instead of focusing on the political history (e.g. the protests and the rise of Solidarity), Gdula discussed a number of crucial transformations occurring in that decade in Polish society, culture and academy. He argued that the 1970s were a period of rapid changes happening both within the socialist system and in society, foreshadowing the gradual turn to capitalism traditionally associated with the fall of communism in 1989.
Queer in Polish film from the early 1970s
On January 19, 2019 the Polish CRUSEV team hosted the second seminar this year (and thirteenth overall). The guest speaker was Justyna Jaworska, an Assistant Professor at the Section for Film and Visual Culture of the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. Jaworska presented a case study from the 1970s – a critical and queer reading of the short documentary film Hair (1971), directed by Marek Piwowski, who is best known for his satirical comedy film The Cruise (1970), which he co-wrote with Janusz G?owacki. The 17-minute long Hair is seemingly a report from the 9th Hairdressing Competition of the Socialist States for the Friendship Cup, which took place in Warsaw in 1971. In the eyes of the filmmaker, however, the propaganda event is transformed into a satirical and ironic parody of not only the hairdressing competition, but the entire communist system of values and meanings. Jaworska proposed a different reading of the documentary, focusing on its intriguing subversive undertones and queer sensibilities, e.g. the relation between camp and queerness, and the use of the aesthetic of mistakes. She argued that Hair could be productively read using Jack Halberstam’s concept of queer failure. In the discussion after the lecture, the participants of the seminar addressed other historical contexts and possible applications of queer theory to the analysis of Polish films from the 1970s, offering more reflections on the idea of finding a local, historically-specific understanding of “the Polish k?ir”, Jaworska’s proposed reframing of “queer”.
6 x Polish Public Events
On February 22nd, Agnieszka Wiciak presented her work collecting and indexing LGBTQIA FEM archival materials obtained from various private and institutional donors. Wiciak shared samples of the collection and described ways in which they were acquired. She emphasized that many privately held collections include fliers, photographs, personal affects and correspondence, but they are in danger of being destroyed upon holders’ death. Her organization, dubbed “History Club,” seeks to prevent this outcome by fielding donations of these artefacts. Wiciak also talked about her efforts to photocopy and annotate her existing collection in order to post it online with the KARTA archive (which documents social history), as this would make it widely accessible. Her project is facing funding challenges for this purpose. It is also in need of a facility in which the collection could be safely stored.
On March 8th, Monika Baer presented some findings from her “Divercity” project, focusing on ways in which access to public spaces and resources in Wroc?aw is negotiated between activists, municipal authorities, and other actors. She drew parallels between some contemporary developments and older subcultures from the 1970s and 1980s, noting for example, the present-day activist strategy of speaking about sex in public. She also discussed methodological issues that arose in the course of her study, including some linked to the political and cultural history of Wroc?aw, formerly known as Breslau, which was a German city up to the end of the Second World War. Notably, the cruising areas of Wroc?aw seem to have remained the same ones as those of Breslau after the city was handed over to Poland as part of the post-Yaltan world order.
On March 22nd, Tomasz Basiuk, Polish PI, presented on the emergence of gay male social networks and on the progressive thematization of homosexuality in everyday discourses during the 1970s and early 1980s as prerequisites for subsequent political activism in the late 1980s, calling these earlier times a proto-political era. Calling on oral history interviews with two women and with a number of men, and on letters sent by homosexual men in Poland to HOSI Wien in the early 1980s, he traced the gradual overcoming of an unwritten social contract regarding silence on the homosexual question. His paper will be published as part of the “Pink Tongue” section in the upcoming issue of InterAlia.
On March 29th, Marta Abramowicz presented her research on the situation of young bi- and homosexual pupils and students (aged 14 – 25). Abramowicz is a psychologist and expert on preventing discrimination, She is the author of the nonfiction books: Zakonnice odchodz? po cichu (Nuns Leave in Silence)and Dzieci ksi??y (Children of Priests). In her talk, Abramowicz focused on the structural problems of violence in schools, discrimination based on sexual orientation, and lack of acceptance from parents. Referring to her research (e.g. statistical data) and comparing the situation of homosexual and heteronormative pupils, she talked about the psychological effects of discrimination on non-normative pupils and students. The ensuing discussion focused on discrimination at school and the changes in attitudes of Polish society towards LGBT people.
On April 5th, Anna Dobrowolska, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Oxford, presented on female and male prostitution in the People’s Republic of Poland based on documents produced by the state police (officially known as the Citizens’ Militia) and used for its internal training purposes. These documents testify to a wide range of discursive categories used to conceptualize the phenomenon of prostitution and its relationship to a shifting legal, ideological, and economic environment. Notably, moral evaluation of prostitution evolved with the development of state socialism and its changing beliefs about what constitutes a good society. Compared to the wealth of information on female prostitution, male prostitution received scant attention. The male sex workers’ servicing of male clientele was dubbed “homosexuality” without any ostensible claim about these workers’ sexual identities.
On April 12th, B?a?ej Warkocki, member of the Polish CRUSEV team, presented on his recent book on Witold Gombrowicz’s 1933 literary debut read through the lens of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s argument about homosociality, paranoia, and the gothic. Warkocki argued that the volume of short stories, with their focus on the theme of immaturity, is readable as alluding to queerness, not least because of allusions to Oscar Wilde. He further pointed out that some of the stories rely on distinctly gothic motifs, used by Gombrowicz also in some of his later work, and that they lend themselves to being read in the manner proposed by Sedgwick in Between Men and in The Coherence of Gothic Conventions. The discussion which followed the talk focused on the opposition between reading Gombrowicz’s work as coded life writing versus reading it as an implicit theory of queerness presented through the figure of immaturity.
Tuesday November 13 2018
Conference Room 1.06
University of Edinburgh
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay presents the first instalment of a queer listening group at Edinburgh College of Art.
Screams and Whispers: A Queer Listening Group at the Edinburgh College of Art
Queer aurality will be imagined through a series of deep listening sessions of sonic material from archival and contemporary sources. The listening will last about one hour, followed by thirty minutes of discussion. The group is convened by artist and PhD researcher BennyNemerofsky Ramsay, who will also curate the first session. www.nemerofsky.ca All welcome!
Tuesday, November 13, 6-7:30PM
Conference Room 1.06 Alison House, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
More information: email@example.com
Documentación parcial del histórico simposio de Crusev España Resistencias del Sur, celebrada el 27 y 28 de abril de 2018 en el Institut Valencià d’Art Modern.
Documentación parcial del histórico simposio de Crusev España Resistencias del Sur, celebrada el 27 y 28 de abril de 2018 en el Institut Valencià d’Art Modern. El programa completo se puede ver aquí.
Friday, April 27, 2018
Archivos Precarios/Archivos Militantes II
Alejandro Simón/Marta Echaves/Jesús Bravo, Olga Maroto, Felipe Rivas.
Moderator: Jesús Carrillo.
Conversación: Poéticas Lésbicas en los años 70.
Meri Torras and Mari Chordà
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Andrea Corrales, Francisco Godoy, Lucía Egaña (video no incluido). Moderator: Noemi de Haro.
Wednesday 27 June 2018
18.00 – 19.30 hrs
RoSa vzw, Brussels, Belgium
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay presents his navigational score for the library of the RoSa Kenniscentrum voor Gender en Feminisme, which leads participants through the collection following feelings, memories and personal curiosities.
Wednesday 27 June 2018
18.00 – 19.30 hrs
RoSa vzw, Zennestraat 30, Brussels 1000, Belgium
As part of a research residency at Q-O2, artist Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay has created a participatory navigational score for the library of the RoSa Kenniscentrum voor Gender en Feminisme, which houses extensive materials on feminism, gender topics and the Flemish Women’s Movement. The score leads participants through the collection following feelings, memories and personal curiosities, and involves reading, speaking, transcribing and letter-writing.
REGARDS is a special gathering to activate the score for the first time in a group setting. Nemerofsky will briefly introduce the project, and then participants will be invited to enact the score at their own pace. The score will be available in English, Dutch and French. The gathering will be followed by drinks and discussion at the nearby Q-O2 studio, where the artist-designed ‘Pensée’ cocktail will be served.
The event is free, but please register your participation with Benny at firstname.lastname@example.org
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay is a Montreal-born artist and diarist based in Edinburgh. His artistic work mediates emotional encounters with musical, art historical and Queer cultural material, encouraging deep listening and empathic viewing. In his work you will find bells, bouquets, ceramic vases, enchanted forests, folding screens, gay elders, glitter, gold leaf, love letters, imaginary paintings, madrigals, megaphones, mirrors, naked men, sex-changing flowers, sign language, subtitles, and the voices of birds, boy sopranos, contraltos, countertenors, and sirens. Nemerofsky’s work has been exhibited internationally, and is part of the permanent collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, the Polin Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Thielska Galleriet Stockholm and the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. He is a member of the Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Sexual Cultures research team at the Edinburgh College of Art. www.nemerofsky.ca
On 25 May 2018 the Polish CRUSEV team hosted its final public seminar before the university’s summer break. The invited speaker was Professor Remigiusz Ryzinski, author of Foucault w Warszawie (Foucault in Warsaw), recently nominated for the prestigious Polish “Nike” literary award in the category of reportage. Ryzinski talked about his archival research and the oral history interviews behind the book, in which he uses Michel Foucault’s nine-month stay in Warsaw as a pretext to describe the city’s queer life at the end of the 1950s. Ryzinski shows that the “homosexual milieu” in Warsaw and in other Polish cities was being investigated by the state police years ahead of the much better known “Hyacinth” campaign in the mid-1980s. He also speculates that the Palace of Culture, a Stalinist-era building looming over the city’s centre and visible from the street where Foucault lived, may have inspired the philosopher’s notion of the panopticon. Foucault in fact worked on Madness and Civilization while staying in Warsaw, where he directed the newly founded Centre de Civilization Francaise at the University of Warsaw. He was forced to leave Poland abruptly in July 1959, probably to avoid a diplomatic scandal related to his homosexuality.
Symposium – Call for Papers
20-22 September 2018
University of Warsaw, Poland
University of Warsaw, September 20-22, 2018
CALL FOR PAPERS
With his concept of sexual citizenship, David T. Evans offered a framework for thinking about sexuality as a matter for civic and human rights. Can this perspective apply to queer lives, practices, and expression in Poland during the 1970s and in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) during the Cold War more broadly?
References to underground queer cultures of the era are traceable in literature, film, and professional publications by sexologists and state police experts. Some of these references are veiled in the culturally sanctioned silence around queer sexualities and they need to be noted and explained. Others represent the state’s surveying eye, typically focused on homosexual men, and the professional’s gaze, often focused on the transsexual.
Given the limitations of the available archive, oral history interviews are an important source for understanding the queer past. They may dovetail with the framework of sexual citizenship because the interviews address both the material conditions of queer lives and the ways in which queer subjects have conceptualized and represented those lives. By allowing queers to voice their stories, prominence is given to their lived sexual difference and to their dissent. While Polish and other CEE queers may not have articulated specifically political demands in the 1970s, many developed an alternative ethos, one cutting diagonally across some established social institutions.
Some of the questions this symposium seeks to explore are: How to tell the history of Polish and other CEE queers in the 1970s and prior to their partial political emancipation post-1989? Is it one history or rather many histories, influenced by gender, class, and ethnicity, as well as geopolitical location? What kind of impact did the East/West divide, which defined the political era, have on queer experience, queer networks, and queers’ sense of belonging? What is the relationship between queer lives, both individual and collective, and civic rights? Is Evans’s framing applicable to the Polish and other CEE contexts of the period? What is the meaning of doing queer history now? What can we learn from our inquiries into the past, and from oral history specifically?
We invite empirically grounded, as well as theoretical and methodological, papers that address these and related questions. Please submit your abstract (max. 250 words) and bio (max. 150 words) to email@example.com by June 26. Decisions about acceptance of abstracts for this workshop will be emailed by July 3.
Saturday 9 June 2018,
University of Warsaw:
The Polish CRUSEV team have organised a workshop – ‘Pink Tongue’, in English – which will explore different historical approaches to the history of sexuality.
The Polish CRUSEV team are holding an event – ‘Pink Tongue’ in English – on 9 June in Warsaw. Here is the full programme for the event, in Polish.
– warsztaty poswiecone jezykowi seksualnej odmienczosci w ujeciu historycznym
9 czerwca 2018 r.
Osrodek Studiów Amerykanskich UW
Aleja Niepodleglosci 22, Warszawa
9:30 – 11:00
Moderatorka: Agnieszka Koscianska
1) Mariola Bienko: (Nie)konwencjonalne narracje na temat nieheteronormatywnosci
2) Piotr Moszczenski: „Homofobia – to sie leczy?” O potrzebie demedykalizacji jezyka oporu
3) Jan Szpilka: Od pazia do kinkstera, od algolaganii po BDSM. Probujac okreslic sadomasochizm
11:00 – 11:15: przerwa kawowa
11:15 – 13:15
Moderator: Tomasz Basiuk
1) Mathias Foit: Jezyk seksualnej innosci w II Rzeszy Niemieckiej i Republice Weimarskiej
2) Blazej Warkocki: Miedzy detabuizacja o normalizacja. Slowo o nieheteroseksualnej stronie w biografii Gombrowicza
3) Ludmila Janion: „Homoseksualisci, którym w zyciu nie powiodlo sie” – ciota w mediach lat dziewiecdziesiatych
4) Wojciech Szymanski: Apofatyka i epifania: kruzingi Ryszarda Kisiela
13:15 – 14:00: przerwa lunchowa
14:00 – 15:30
Panel projektu CRUSEV – Cruising the 1970s.
Moderatorka: Agnieszka Koscianska
Panelisci: Tomasz Basiuk, Jedrzej Burszta, Karolina Morawska, Krzysztof Zablocki, Karol Radziszewski
15:30: zakonczenie warsztatow
CRUSEV UK team member Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay’s audio project Trees Are Fags launched at LUX Moving Image in London on May 18, 2018. Co-commissioned by CRUSEV and LUX, the thirty-minute audio walk explores the history and aesthetics of gay sex cruising in city parks, making a number of arguments about the links between gay men and trees, unpacking the etymology of the word faggot, proposing the bassoon as the voice of arboreal homosexuality, and asking the listener to tune in to the temporal modes of arboreal life. A shuffling collection of choreographic cues, based on the gestural and affective dimensions of cruising, guide the listener on a search not for another human, but for a tree who might be their lover. The cues are programmed so that each user has a different experience of the piece, and is led on a different path. The launch included a conversation between Nemerofsky and LUX curator Matt Carter.
More about Trees Are Fags at www.nemerofsky.ca/trees
Report from the CRUSEV Poland seminar at the University of Warsaw, with Dr. Maria Debinska discussing her anthropological research on transgenderism in the People’s Republic of Poland in the 1970s and 80s.
The sixth public seminar organized by the Polish CRUSEV team was held at the University of Warsaw on Friday, April 20, 2018. Our guest was Dr. Maria Debinska.
Dr. Debinska discussed her anthropological research on transgenderism in the People’s Republic of Poland, focusing mostly on the 1970s and 80s. Debinska study focused on popular publications by Polish sexologists. She argued that expert discourse on transsexuality was inspired by both a medicalizing and a sociological approach, as Polish sexologists were developing a language that would be appropriate to the difficult experience of their patients.
Debinska also presented a concise historical overview of the way the Polish judiciary was making it possible for a Polish citizen to legally change her or his gender. The Polish state used to be significantly more supportive of trans people than it is nowadays: medical costs were covered by the state and the legal procedure was simpler than it is today. Before 1989, people who wanted to legally transition did not need to sue their parents, as they do now; the courts would decide on gender reassignment solely on the grounds of expert medical and psychological opinion. However, Debinska discussed the contrast between the state’s supportive stance and the everyday discrimination of trans people.
An underlying and perennial heterosexual bias in Polish sexologists’ approach to transsexuality has been the explicit goal of ushering patients into a “healthy” heterosexual relationship and marriage. Unlike in the case of “sex correction”—as gender reassignment was called at the time—the goal of heterosexual marriage was not achievable for others, notably not for homosexuals. The methods available to “treat” homosexuality were increasingly deemed ineffective. At the same time, professionals perceived non-monogamous relationships as detrimental and even “perverse.”
The event was attended by about forty people, marking the rising interest which these seminars evoke.
The fourth public seminar organized by the Polish CRUSEV team, with Prof Joanna Nizynska discussing the writing of Miron Bialoszewski, was held at the University of Warsaw on Thursday 11 January 2018.
The fourth public seminar organized by the Polish CRUSEV team was held at the University of Warsaw on Thursday, January 11 2018. Our guest was Joanna Nizynska, Associate Professor of Polish Literature and Culture at the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures in Indiana University, Bloomington USA. Prof. Nizynska presented excerpts from her upcoming book, a Polish translation of her study “The Kingdom of Insignificance: Miron Bialoszewski and the Quotidian, the Traumatic, and the Queer” (Northwestern UP, 2013) dedicated to the work of Miron Bialoszewski, one of the most influential Polish poets and writers of the 20th century. During her lecture, she discussed the different approaches to the use of queer theory in analyzing Polish literature, emphasizing the active role of any act of queering – perceiving “queer” not as a noun, but a verb. Nizynska closely analyzed several fragments from Miron Bialoszewski’s prose published in the 1970s, focusing on the depictions of homoerotic tensions, acts of subverting the normative, as well as the intertextual connections with more recent literary works – most importantly, Michal Witkowski’s “Lubiewo” (2005) – which form a dialogue with Bialoszewski’s early queer writing. The seminar was a chance to reflect on the complicated positioning of Polish writers within Western queer theory, the possible adaption and/or translation of queer frameworks to national literature. The ensuing discussion focused on how to overcome or challenge some of the theoretical problems facing queer-oriented scholars in their studies of Polish queer culture and history.
Sunday 21 January 2018
London Short Film Festival, ICA
Originally filmed in 1962 by the Ohio police, William E Jones’s Tearoom is surveillance footage, a blunt tool of oppression that documented men cruising in a public restroom. Includes a panel discussion with Crusev’s Fiona Anderson.
Sun 21 Jan 13:00 ICA
Dir. William E Jones, 1962/2007, US, 56 mins
18 recommendation – contains scenes of real sexual activity
In 2007, the video artist William E Jones presented Tearoom. Originally filmed in 1962 by the Ohio police, Tearoom is surveillance footage, a blunt tool of oppression that documented men cruising in a public restroom. This footage was eventually used as evidence to prosecute the men of sodomy and public deviancy.
In exhuming this footage 40 years later, Jones revealed hidden dimensions through recontexualisation, offering up an open democratic space where age, class and racial boundaries break down, whilst remaining a poignant reminder of the anxiety and persecution these men were forced to endure.
London Short Film Festival welcomes Dr Fiona Anderson of University of Newcastle & CRUSEV (Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures), to talk with filmmaker and Little Joe editor Sam Ashby (The Colour of His Hair), Tearoom video game developer Robert Yang and sculptural artist Prem Sahib for a post-screening discussion.
Prior to the screening we will also be showcasing Robert Yang’s game The Tearoom, a cruising simulation made in direct response to the film. On release, the game ran afoul of the censors and so in a bold piece of satirical provocation Yang replaced all the penises with guns. The game was then successfully passed uncut.
For further details, click here.
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.
Text and Photographs by Fiona Anderson.
Mark Clintberg and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay presented a book-wrapping action as part of the Between the Sheets: Radical Print Before the Queer Bookstore
Artist Mark Clintberg and CRUSEV UK team member Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay presented a book-wrapping action as part of the Between the Sheets: Radical Print Before the Queer Bookstore symposium held at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art on February 24, 2017.
The action, created especially for the symposium, responded to the history of printed material of a sexual or queer nature being wrapped in paper that conceals its contents when purchased in shops or sent by post. Symposium guests were invited to bring books or other printed matter to the artists, who provided a wrapping service using screen-printed paper of their own design, created to increase the visibility of the wrapped material, rather than to conceal it. The artists also wrapped and displayed a selection of books from the Glasgow Women’s Library, chosen by Lesbian Archive Project Worker Alice Andrews.
The project evolved out of other collaborative projects between Clintberg and Nemerofsky involving hospitality, wrapping and exchange, including Garde Rose and For the Last Guest. More documentation of the action can be seen here.
CRUSEV’s Glyn Davis attended this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Chicago. Here’s his report.
CRUSEV’s Glyn Davis organised and contributed to a panel for this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference. Here’s his report on the event.
I put together a panel for this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference, which took place in Chicago from 22nd to 26th March. The panel was titled ‘Cruising the Seventies: Glancing Backwards at Queer Cinema’, and was comprised of talks by Assistant Professor Greg Youmans (Western Washington University – pictured), Professor Bill Marshall (University of Stirling) and myself, with Associate Professor Richard T. Rodriguez (University of California Riverside) as a respondent. Whereas the focus of the HERA-funded project ‘Cruising the Seventies’ is on Europe, this panel expanded the parameters of investigation to also include the United States. The panel was sponsored by SCMS’s Queer Caucus.
Greg Youmans’ paper, ‘Locating the 1970s: Sex and Cinema at Druid Heights’, focused on a particular geographical location, and its role in the history of sexual representation in the United States. Located deep in the woods of Marin County, California, the artist colony known as Druid Heights was a countercultural mecca in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a haven for young lesbian feminists who journeyed there to visit the older poet Elsa Gidlow, who died in 1986. Since then, however, most of the structures have fallen into decay and disrepair.
Films shot at Druid Heights include James Broughton’s experimental short ‘The Bed’ (1968), sequences of the Mariposa Film Group’s ‘Word Is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives’ (1977), and sections of the Mitchell Brothers’ pornographic feature ‘The Grafenberg Spot’ (1985). Together these films trace the history of sexual politics across the “long 1970s”, from the hippie counterculture of the late 1960s through the explosion of gay lifestyles and politics in the 1970s to the exhausted, post-liberation ethos and conservative backlash of the early 1980s. Greg’s paper explored the films’ competing cinematic visions of sexual liberation. In part, he did this through juxtaposing his own video footage with content from the original films, attempting to recreate or unearth traces of the past through his camera.
Bill Marshall’s talk, ‘Lional Soukaz: Historicity and Time’, discussed one specific film by Soukaz: his four-part documentary on queer history, ‘Race d’Ep!’ (1979). Bill focused in particular on the fourth part of the film, ‘Royal Opera’, which takes the form of a philosophical dialogue of sorts between a straight middle-class executive (played by porn star Piotr Stanislas) and a ‘folle’ or queer (played by Soukaz’s collaborator and theorist Guy Hocquenghem). ‘Royal Opera’ is particularly self-conscious about space and time: made on the cusp of the 1970s/1980s, it follows the pair through a Paris marked by the spatial history of same-sex desire. Bill’s talk connected Soukaz’s film-making practice to the 1970s context in Paris – before the opening of the first gay bar in the Marais, the AIDS crisis, and the creation of an equal age of consent – and to arguments made by Hocquenghem in his book ‘La Derive homosexuelle’ (1977) about queerness, marginality, and social acceptability.
As with the preceding papers, my own talk, ‘Hanging out in Derek Jarman’s warehouse’, also looked at the relationships between sexuality, space and the moving image. The different London warehouse spaces that the artist, filmmaker and author Derek Jarman occupied during the 1970s – at Upper Ground, Bankside, and Butler’s Wharf, all located along the south bank of the Thames – were introduced: Jarman lived and worked in these places, his studio doubling as his home. All of these spaces were inhabited legitimately – rent was paid to landlords – but the state of their upkeep was variable, at worst rudimentary. Their shabby state, I argued, served as a generative geography for Jarman: he turned the run-down locations into sanctuaries, othered spaces, in which a queer demimonde of artists and personalities gathered, socialized, and fostered each other’s work. The queer model of sociality and creativity supported by these warehouse studios, I suggested, was not only fleeting but is difficult to account for within existing understandings of both film-making and artistic practice. Attempting to capture that model allows us to think through ways in which, potentially, similar modes of creativity and interaction might be fostered in the present.
Richard T. Rodriguez’s response to the panel, ‘Looking back, thinking forward’, provided a fitting conclusion, and served as a provocative prompt for audience discussion. Richard drew attention to the historian Antoinette Burton’s insistence on “the need for archive stories – narratives about how archives are created, drawn upon, and experienced by those who use them to write history.” Lionel Soukaz, Derek Jarman, and the filmmakers associated with Druid Heights, said Richard, provide us with rich archive stories that enable us to do a queer history of 1970s cinema that teases out the overlooked elements of that era: they illuminate a rich temporal moment that does more than set the stage for future decades of queer filmmaking, but also illustrates a dynamic interplay between film culture and cultural politics.
Cruising the 70s is funded by HERA.
The project Cruising the 70s is financially supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme 3 Uses of the Past which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via DLR-PT, CAS, CNR, DASTI, ETAg, FWF, F.R.S. – FNRS, FWO, FCT, FNR, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MIZS, MINECO, NWO, NCN, RANN?S, RCN, SNF, VIAA and VR and the European Commission through Horizon 2020.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 649307