Dear friends and followers,
after 5 exciting years with many shifts and changes in both the layout and the content of this blog I’ve decided to end Catch Fire. It wasn’t an easy decision, since this site has become a very important part of my life and is still very well frequented, even with less postings than in the beginning. But once the idea of officially bringing this project to an end was planted in my head it was too late to turn back.
Over the last two years blogging for me has started to feel more and more like a burden. I just didn’t really enjoy it anymore. One reason might be that my passion for queer art and culture has suffered. There was a time when I thought that cultural practices like music, film and art could help building communities and unite people. And I still think that this is true. But I also feel like what happens right now is that especially with the success of queer artists in mainstream culture, these cultural practices produce new hierarchies and structures of reputation and exclusion. And I feel like at some point the blog has contributed to this problem.
But I don’t have any hard feelings. I am proud of what I achieved. The progress and the many changes this blog has undergone reflect my own changes.
I want to thank everyone who has taken part in opening my horizon and helped me to critically reflect on my writing and on the way I choose my subjects. Many thanks go especially to all the wonderful contributors of this site. They have made it more diverse, more lively and a bit smarter. I will keep on paying the bills for the web hosting, so everything that has been published here can remain as some sort of archive and Catch Fire stays a witness of its time.
And of course I also want to thank you, dear followers of Catch Fire for all your support and the energy to stay by my side. There have never been many comments in the comment section, but with my statistics tool I was able to see that there are actually really a lot of people who are regularly visiting this site. To know that many of you came back regularly has always made me proud and happy and has given me the feeling that I’m doing the right thing.
I am planning to throw a little good-bye party in Berlin soon as part of my second Movement screening event. The evening will take place in late July at Raumerweiterungshalle. The invitation to this event will be the last posting after this goodbye post.
Thank you. Much love.
BERLINERS: Come to my new queerish hip hop party BERRIES on September 12 at OHM Berlin (The former SHIFT). The kick-off of the Berries Berlin features a hip hop set by Lotic, mixed beats with DJ Obstsalat aka Tanja Saphir who will also play the beats for a live set of MC Kovo 22. I will open and close the evening with my friend Dominik as Stitch & Tchuani.
Poster by Lavender Wolf (artwork) and Colin Quinn (design)
Here comes the invitation I was talking about in my official blog closing post from last week (still sobbing!). I hope you off you who are in Berlin on August 1 can make it and celebrate 5 years of Catch Fire with me and many other nice people.
The first MOVEMENT! screening took place in May 2013 at the former project space SHIFT. The event aimed to show different ways in which contemporary queer, trans* and feminist artists use music and sound in combination with dance and other body practices in order to investigate and express queer identification and dis-identification. It featured works of artists such as Tejal Shah, Daniel Cremer, Brontez Purnell, Go! Push Pops, Margaret V. Haines, Liz Rosenfeld and Chris E. Vargas.
While it’s precursor focussed more on the “show” side of cultural production – on choreography, disguise and rhythm – the second edition will be more introspective and conceptual. The aim is to show a collection of more personal works, which allow the audience more space for reflection and contemplation. But don’t worry, it won’t be boring.
The evening will feature films by and with artist from Germany, the US, Mexico, Uganda, Colombia and South Africa such as Telémachos Alexiou, Amber Bemak, Tommy Kha, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, Hari Nef, Umlilo and Zemmoa. And I’m especially proud to be able to present the Berlin premiere of Simon Paetau’s performative documentary “Cruising in High Heels” feat. Jair Luna.
The screening will take place on August 1 at raumerweiterungshalle, Markgrafendamm 24c, Berlin. Doors open at 8, program starts at 9. You’re kindly invited to join the event on Facebook! See you! Flyer by Colin Quinn!
Until the 17th of July New Yorker’s have the opportunity to see Berlin based artist Markues‘ first exhibition in the US at Kai Matsumiya gallery, Lower East Side (invitation card above). Here’s a little preview of Markue’s collages, though which the artist deconstructs historical and contemporary images and turns them into colorful, abstract new bodies of work with a transformative spirit. For more information about the show and the full video of Markues’ installation piece “Meine Welt”, which is also part of the exhibition, please visit the gallery’s website, for exhibition views visit the artist’s website.
Brothers Left Alive, 2014, mixed media on paper, 60 x 40 cm
Chic Reloaded, 2014, mixed media on paper, 60 x 40 cm MORE >>>
How can we be a community if we exploit each other? In this wonderfully cynical, yet melancholic and passionate performance / lecture / reading, Berlin based artist and performer Mysti reflects on self-employment and exploitation in the field of cultural production and questions the notion of a queer community by revealing its underlying power-structures in terms of race, class and gender. The lecture mixes performative elements with (queer-)feminist theory and personal anecdotes and was recorded on June 10 at Raumererweiterungshalle Berlin. A text version can be found on Mysti’s blog Fuck Me While I’m Gorgeous.
No, FEM4FEM, a “magazine that celebrates all that is transformative, magical, intersectional, and queer” is not an actual magazine. The cover is a artwork by artist Odera Igbokwe, who posted it on his tumblr earlier this month. But there’s a glimpse of hope this might actually turn into a magazin at some point: “who know where this project will lead me” Odera writes unter the post.
If you happen to be in Berlin in the next weeks and months, I warmly recommend the exhibition “What is Queer Today is Not Queer Tomorrow”, which opens tomorrow evening at 7 at the art space nGbK in Berlin-Kreuzberg with a performance by Pakistani artist Eshan Rafi and a party with DJ’s Svetlana Pall Mall & FordKelly und VJ Black Cracker. The exhibition will run until August 10 and feature works of wonderful artists from Berlin and around the world. Here’s the official announcement text:
“Queer Today is Not Queer Tomorrow explores the theme of queer temporality. The project responds to debates within queer milieus (lesbian, gay, trans*, intersex-, etc.) and to the increasing integration of queer ways of life into the political mainstream. The nGbK becomes an explicit venue of experience, confrontation, reflection, lingering, exchange and departure.
What is ‘queer?’ What was perhaps once queer – and what has been omitted from this framework? What could queer be? The exhibition raises questions about community, identity, visibility and sex; it opens up postcolonial perspectives and tales of lesbian-gay-trans*-bi-inter-queer stories, hair, bodies, porn and capitalism. During the eight-week exhibition, artists will intervene in the white cube of the nGbK. Selected works will enter the space over time or be developed in an ongoing process that visitors can accompany.
Performances will take place at weekly intervals, the documentations of which will also become part of the exhibition space.
What is Queer Today is Not Queer Tomorrow has been conceived and organised by the (heidy) collective, an nGbK project group, which consists of persons working with performance, theory video, text and images – some are people of color, some are identified as cis- or trans-, some are gay or lesbian, some are not.”
More information and the full program on the nGbK website, on heidy’s blog and the exhibition’s Facebook page.
Photo: Florian Ashka, untitled, 2013
From the upcoming mixtape Hunger Pangs (out June 16 on Soundcloud)
Directed by Minister Akins
“Queer, Ill, & Okay” is an experimental performance series started by Joseph Varisco, founder of the Chicago-based multimedia production collective JRV MAJESTY. The collective has done wonderful and impressive community work over the past 3 years by building platforms for queer artists to connect and express themselves through various forms of performance art. Check out their Vimeo account to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Varisco, who is also responsible for ongoing performance events such as the oral history series Queer Lexicon, the queer performance series LEX·IC·A and the hip hop concert series Queer Cypher (see Vimeo), has initiated “Queer, Ill, & Okay” in 2012 after being diagnosed with HIV. His attempt was to initiate a performative space in order explores the intersections between queerness and living with chronic illness from different perspectives. A space, which allows queer identified people living with HIV and other forms of chronic illness to share their experiences with their community and celebrate their live in all its varieties.
You can now contribute to improve ”Queer, Ill, & Okay” by supporting this Kickstarter campaign, which raises money in order to pay the artists performing at upcoming events of the series, as well as to compensate the people who are professionally documenting them (free online streaming!). Please donate here, only 500$ more dollars are missing. And if you still aren’t convinced, here is the official campaign video, which also features artists of the upcoming events:
The next “Queer, Ill, & Okay” events will take place on Saturday, July 5th (see poster on top) and Sunday, July 6th at 7PM located at Defibrillator Performing Arts Gallery in Wicker Park.
Berlin based duo Crime is back with visuals to their song “Luck Comes Sweeter”. The video was directed by the Berlin-based queer film collective nowMomentnow and explores and digitally transform mysterious landscapes from Germany and Australia.