I have spent the last nine months of my artist life in Berlin. Full of ups and downs, it has been amazing overall! In Vancouver, when my beloved father drove me to the airport, there was a giant fat rainbow touching the ground before I boarded the plane. When the plane rose into the air, a cloud flare appeared – a circular rainbow – which travelled with me for over an hour, hovering right next to the plane window.
I am writing this from a queer performance artist residency at Ponderosa, which is about an hour from Berlin. Zeph, Miriam and I biked here from the train and but what should appear? Another rainbow, finally! I feel like these rainbows have all been signs telling me I am on the right path choosing to follow my dreams- which has been both totally scary and completely fulfilling. My father is from London, U.K., my mother from L.A. California, and I was born on Vancouver Island in Canada. I am lucky for this, and I have taken both my passport privilege and job as curator seriously this year, curating nine new video programs.
Sadly I got my heart broken immediately upon arriving in Berlin. But luckily I filmed myself crying the whole month of January, which turned into very handy footage when RT Collective commissioned me to make work for their new In Your Pocket Curation for Inside Out in Toronto on the theme of Dear Diary. I edited a new film in Copenhagen called For the Heartbroken.
But back to happier news…
For my 43rd birthday this year a new friend of mine, Alex, found out that I have finally entered the realm of wikipedia! If you have any corrections to this entry please feel free to add. What an honour – thank you Carla Henkel.
Also during January I got to work on an amazing project called Forum Expanded which consists of huge video screen installations created by artists from all over the world.
I have never independently curated so much in my life as I have in Berlin! Over the last decade I have been working with many artists from North America and it gives me such joy to bring their aesthetics and politics all the way to Berlin, which does indeed seem to be the centre of the queer universe right now. Please click on each curation below to see the amazing artists I have had the honour of working with.
TRIGGER WARNING, co-presented with COVEN
PLEASUREPAIN, Silver Future during the Easter Conference
I created a new evolving bill for Queeristan, Amsterdam, Netherlands which I think I will name ‘Healing is Not Linear’ This bill will travel to New York in October with Abed Haddad!
I was commissioned to create a new curation called PUMPED which was a part of conteS/Xting SPORT at NGBK which screened at GEGEN, Bethanien and with COVEN at Kleiner Salon. Thank you to the Canadian Embassy for their support. Here’s half of the team I worked with at NGBK for a few months! Imtiaz, Caitlin, Zeljko, Jared and Steffy:
Huge thank you to all my techs who made my screenings possible especially Alex Tsoli, Cat Barich, Yuen Ka Lai, Kata at Silver Future, Lorena Juan Gutierrez, and Judy Landkammer, as well as Anika from Raumerweiterungshalle.
I also got to curate Love is Like the Weather again for Gender & Performance(s) Studies at Concordia University in Montréal, Québéc. And to top it off my curation was the final exam! This is a first for sure. Thank you to Dr. Fraser for organizing this!
My largest event in my life (to date) occurred last month. It was called WITCH RAVE, named after an amazing short film by Canadian friends Helen Reed and Hana Jickling, who allowed me to use the name for the new curation. 1,000 people came to WITCH RAVE on Insel!!! an astounding amount of different communities converged on this magical isle for about 50 local and international performance artists, filmmakers, DJs and VJS. Thank you so much everyone for coming and for everyone who created work, videos and sets for this event. Huge thanks to Queeries organizers Shelley and Kata for helping me co-run this event. Also huge shout outs to Miriam and Luca for being so steady before and throughout. We were able to fund about 20 queer artists to go on a ten day residency to expand their research and practices at Ponderosa, which is no small miracle.
Outside my newfound life as a curator, Fake Orgasm Choir came into being at the Køpi squat. Here’s a picture of us in the green room/climbing room 🙂
Sound artists featured above (missing Sara Neidorf) included Cat Barich, Lianne Hall, Kay Garnellen, Sirona, Aubrey Hike, Terril Scott, Atlanta Athens, Nel Fragner, Johanna Bronk, Alex Tsoli, Skyler Braeden Fox and Pol Merchan.
Here’s our video by my dear friend Yuen Ka Lai:
We will also be performing at the Lido for a Bildweschel Cabaret with Les Reines Prochaines on Saturday September 24 at 8pm. I have been working with this amazing archives and organization for almost fifteen years now. Also- let me know if you would like to join- we have space in the choir! More info here
FAKE ORGASM CHOIR performed at Sudblock with Kay Garnellen for Gender is a Spectrum book launch and also at the Hydra benefit at Möbel Olfe back in February and March. Thank you to all the wonderful people who have been a part of this project, you bring such authentic ecstatic ritual to this sound work!
I am very much enjoying the Queeries art residency right now, it feels like the first time I have rested in the last nine months of the intense Berlin hustle! We are working on all sorts of new performance and dance practices and introducing each other to our vast and varied skill sets. It is a fascinating exchange of minds here through workshops and conversations. It is the first ever official queer residency here and hopefully it will be an annual event, along with WITCH RAVE. Winnie Superhova was the first person to tell me about this intriguing local, and to bring me here. Thanks Winnie! Also huge thanks to Liz Rosenfeld for introducing me to COVEN, who then hosted my screenings and invited me to Queeries.
We will presenting some of our now-evolving end results September 16-18 at Ausland back in Berlin.
Also I have enjoyed many local countryside trips outside the buzz of Berlin. There are two locations I enjoy to rest my weary bones and mind to finally begin to edit my films again! One is a cottage of a dear friend near a lake in Deetz, and the other is Quecke, where I hope to lead a winter residency next year called Hibernate.
Here is the new film I have been working on in Deetz: it was a truly beautiful collaboration with Tamir Lederberg which will be ready this month!
In random other news!
Back to some SAD news, Edgy Women is no more and my 2009 unicorn group performance Guardian showed in the closing event. This is a feminist festival I have worked with for almost ten years. Big thank you to k.g. guttman for this photo. And the hugest thanks to everyone at Edgy Women for believing in me for all these years and helping me grow up as a performance artist. I would not be the same artist without you! ❤
Not completely art related, but also art related, as many artists come to the sits – I have been leading Queer Meditation in Berlin in English every Sunday at 10 am. I also was pleased to offer a sit for COVEN for their Labour not Labour Festival.
My performative video work – The Party’s Over has been curated twice by Dayna Mcleod at both VIVO and Video Pool Media Arts Centre in celebration of Groupe Intervention Vidéo (GIV)‘s 40th Anniversary. The curation was called Gestures of Performativity. GIV, my video distributors, are advocates, supporters and promoters of women working with Video Art and was founded in Montreal in 1975. GIV, with its multifaceted mandate to distribute, present, and produce independent videos, is one of the rare artist-run centres throughout the world dedicated to the development and promotion of works created by women.
Diamonds screened at Frauen Film Festival, Cologne, Germany
Mother was screened in Chicago as part of a bill entitled No Gods No Masters, Video Video Zine, Chicago, USA.
Lesbian Hand Gestures was in a show called SEX HABITS curated by Rebecca Ladida at In/habit in The Archer Ballroom, Chicago, USA.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
I AM IN A BOOK!
In an article by Karin Cope, entitled “They aren’t a boy or a girl, they are mysterious: Finding possible futures in loving animals and aliens.’ That article will be collected in a work entitled Desiring Change:Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada that MAWA [Mentoring Artists for Women’sArt] and McGill-Queen’s University Press are preparing for publication. The work should appear in the course of 2017. MQUP is provisionally planning a print run of 800 copies in hardcover, to be priced at $49.95.