In 1995 the Berlin Film Festival premiered the documentary A Litany For Survival: the Life and Work of Audre Lorde by filmmakers Ada Gray Griffin and Michelle Parkerson. The film is a portrait of poet and feminist activist Audre Lorde, who shaped both the women’s movement, the Black liberation movement and the LGTB movement of the 70s and 80s by making the links between them visible and fighting for the recognition of the differences between the marginalized. In her work the lesbian woman and mother of two children dealt with the intersections of discrimination and oppression in Western societies, especially by giving black women and women of color a strong and passionate voice, seeking to empower them and building new communities and secure spaces. How this happend on a very practical level and how much Lorde’s work is still relevant and important today is made visible in the new documentary Audre Lorde: The Berlin Years 1984 to 1992 by filmmaker and activist Dagmar Schultz. The film premiered at last year’s Berlinale and assembles video- and audio recordings and footage of Lorde’s various stays in Berlin, where she worked as a guest professor at the John F. Kennedy institute for North American. It is one of the lesser known chapters of her life. The recordings and interviews with friends and colleagues reveal, on how many different levels Lorde left her footprints here – be it by empowering German black women and women of color to build their own community, or by addressing racism and structures of exclusion within the German women’s movement and the German society as a whole (especially after the racist attacks after the wall came down). The Berlin Years is really worth watching, especially at a time where the question of intersectional discrimination and the post-colonial heritage of Western societies is more virulent than ever, both in the academic field and in political activism. The documentary is out on DVD with a distribution in German (via Edition Salzgeber) and North America. More more details check out www.audrelorde-theberlinyears.com.
Poisonous Relationship is an exciting music project by Sheffield based artist, writer and musician Jamie Crewe, who after six shorter records/EPs, his longplay debut ”Our Sex Life Is Brutal” and several remixes of artists such as SSION and Beyoncé has just recently released his new album “Garden of Problems” on Ecstasy (the wonderful label run by The Miracles Club). The album is a real revelation, a very personal and melancholic take on house, combining a smart, percussion-driven songwriting with smooth sounds and Jamie’s androgynous voice. You can purchase the record on the P.R. website, where you also find the whole back catalogue of the project as a free download (!).
I’ve already posted the beautiful video to the first Poisonous Relationship single (and album opener) “Men’s Feelings” (free download here, remix EP out on June 18) in our latest music ticker, and it amazed me so much that I asked Jamie if he’d be up for taking part in our PICK 5 series. He kindly agreed and send us this thoughtful and well-written commented list of his favorite web videos – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
1. Mica Paris – Contribution
“This is the music video for Mica Paris’ 1990 single ‘Contribution’, off her album of the same name. Mica is really underrated – she started off as a kind of missing British link between Anita Baker and Mary J. Blige, but by this, her second album, she had this vibe that was all her own – very London, very fresh, very vocal. On Contribution she’s like the excitement of the early 90s dance music underground condensed into a pop star. My friend Charlotte said the album sounds like songs you should already know, and she’s right. This video is directed by Patricia Murphy in gorgeous high contrast monochrome. It manages to be stark and stylised yet still have a deadpan kind of visual humour (the bouncing dogs, the frog), and give this glamour that’s classy and clean but still young and fun. When I first saw this video, the aesthetic just slayed me, and it’s informed a lot of the looks I go for and the visuals I create.”
I decided to start my own label at the end of 2012, I had been producing print and textiles for companies all over the place since graduating from Central Saint Martins. I had always planned to do my own thing but was adamant I would only get started when felt ready and like I’d had enough experience to move forward independently.
It is great to see how the Berlin based XPOSED queer film festival is climbing to new hights with every year of its existence. After a focus on films from the Middle East last year, this year’s event will investigate Austrian queer avantgarde cinema and show new and old films by artists such as Mara Mattuschka, VALIE EXPORT, Peter Tscherkassky, Dietmar Brehm, Maria Lassnig, Albert Sackl or Kathrina Daschner. I’m especially happy to finally get the chance to see Vienna based artist Hans Scheierl’s legendary trans sci-fi movie Dandy Dust (June 1, the artist will be present), as well as the short films by American artist and underground filmmaker Avery Willard. Willard was just recently rediscovered by director Ira Sachs (Keep The Lights On), who produced a new documentary about the artists entitled In Search of Avery Willard (2012).
The event will start on Thursday evening May 30 with a screening of the film Burning Palance at Mindpirates (Facebook event) and end on Saturday night with the presentation of the festival’s Lolly Award, followed by an official closing party (Facebook event). For more film recommendations, a detailed overview on the program and an interview with festival maker Bartholomew Sammut, please visit the Expatriarch blog by our contributor Joey Hansom, who will DJ at the opening night. Here’s the XPOSED trailer:
Thanks to everyone who made it to our MOVEMENT! screening event yesterday and to all the artists who contributed to it. Special thanks go to Liz Rosenfeld and Simon Peatau, who attended the screenings and agreed to have a little chat with me after the films. It was a really exciting evening, and the amount of people who came and the wonderful atmosphere really encouraged me to do something like this again. If you have good ideas and suggestions for artists and art/projects, who/which could be featured in a follow-up, just write me an email!
“HOMEcountry is the story of an individual’s loss of memory and search for home against the backdrop of a nation’s historical amnesia. The film project is an inquiry into the process of remembering through travelling, where personal and national histories combine and disintegrate across two frames of film at once. This campaign is raising funds to shoot the key scenes in Germany and produce a short film as a development stage for the larger feature film project between Australia and Germany.”
“My name is Diana Tourjee. I am a 24 year old transgender woman, writer, and student living in New York City. This campaign has been established to fund my Gender Confirmation Surgery, specifically vaginoplasty. Unfortunately my insurance agency has not evolved to acknowledge the real medical necessity of transgender care. They have denied to cover the cost of my surgery on the grounds that is a cosmetic procedure. It is heart breaking that medical care isn’t where it needs to be for so many people, across so many demographics, but I understand the reality of the situation. Thats where you come in. I need help from my community, and it is with great humility that I ask for that help.“
Justin Vivian Bond’s “Golden Age of Hustlers” video
“Art places voices in history. Just as Justin Bond carries Bambi Lake’s Golden Age of Hustlers to new ears at the legendary Joe’s Pub in NYC, so would this music video present the collective consciousness of V’s music. The music video for Golden Age of Hustlers will mix performance from Justin Vivian Bond, live staged tableaus from local performance artists and still projections from San Franscisco’s queer community in the 1980s.”
We proudly present our first real-world event MOVEMENT!, which will take place on the May 24 at SHIFT, the new project space of Tresor Club on Köpenicker Straße between Berlin-Kreuzberg and Mitte. The event, with which we’ll celebrate our 4th birthday, aims to show different ways in which contemporary artists use music and sound in combination with dance and other body practices in order to investigate and express queer identification or dis-identification.
We will show 10 different works by artists who identify as queer, trans* and feminist, each of them working with different points of departure such as race, class, and gender. All approaches explore the intersection of the individual and the community, combining a critique towards the normalizing institutions of modern capitalistic society with utopian spirit and practice. The evening’s program ranges from short documentaries and music videos to recordings of live performances. Most of the projects were created and released within the last two years and will be screened with the kind permission of the artists.
The young Lisbon based fashion label HIBU. creates street wear that transcends gender barriers, combining deconstructive elements with functionality, comfort and a little bit of drama. About his new YOUTH collection 22-years-old HIBU. co-founder and designer Gonçalo Páscoa writes: “YOUTH was born out of melancholia out of the carefree feeling we used to have as kids… That feeling that allowed us to play and imagine beyond what others wanted or thought about us. We had no rules, no boundaries, only freedom to be whatever and whomever we felt like it. This collection is all about that, that freendom. It tries to showcase an effortless, adrogynous and comfortable style by deconstructing basics and having a sporty feel. The movie Lords of Dogtown also played a major role when it comes to esthetics because it sums up all of the above thanks to the coolest skaters that ruled back in the days. YOUTH is a celebration of freedom and style.” You find a behind the scenes video of the lookbook shooting on Vimeo. All pictures (c) HIBU.