Lecture at the Queer Seminar in Stockholm 4/12

I’ve been invited to speak about my recently submitted PhD thesis “Touching History: Art, Performance, and Politics in Queer Times” at The Queer Seminar at Stockholm University. The lecture will be on Tuesday December 4th, 2012 between 16-18. The event is free and open for all, and the discussion will be in English. The event takes place in seminar room B479, 4th floor in at House B, where the Gender Studies Department is located (directions here).

We Who Feel Differently

In 2011 the artist Carlos Motta launched the ambitious project We Who Feel Differently – an exhibition, homepage, book, and e-journal – that addresses things at stake in contemporary queer and LGBT politics across the world. The project includes, among other things, interviews with fifty activists, academics and artists from Columbia, South Korea, Norway, and the US, and is as such a treasure trove for all of us who are engaged in transnational exchange on questions pertaining queer political ideas, struggles, and dreams.

In May 2012 Motta takes We Who Feel Differently to New York where The New Museum will function as a “hub” for further debates and discussions related to the project. I have had the pleasure of being invited to participate in a two day We Who Feel Differently: Symposium, organized by Motta and Raegan Truax at The New Museum on May 4-5.

A preliminary program is now online, and the event includes a wide range of amazing speakers and performers. Moderated by the eminent Ann Pellegrini, presenters include José Muñoz, Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, Emily Roydson, Heather Love, E. Patrick Johnson, Tiger Howard Devore, Julian Carter, Regina Gosset and Malik Gaines.

I will give a presentation entitled “Queer Preposterousness: We Who Feel Temporally Disoriented” on Saturday 5th, addressing the theme of that day on queer memory, art, and politics. For those who cannot come to the event, all the previous interviews, texts, and material related to We Who Feel Differently is available online, and that will keep you occupied for quite some time…

Trashing Dance Theatre Journal

I’m really looking forward to the new issue of Dance Theatre Journal on trash, edited by Owen G. Parry and João Florêncio. As part of the ‘trash team’ of the research project Performance Matters, I have been lucky to follow the development of this issue – and I am so happy that my article “This Performance Stinks: dunst and the Politics of Arrested Development” has been included.

This is what the editors write about the issue:

This special issue of Dance Theatre Journal is a dedicated and rigorous exploration of Trash in art, performance, work, and club culture. It features interviews with performance star and living-legend Penny Arcade, club performer Mouse, sex worker and activist Thierry Schaffauser, plus articles exploring the work of John Sex, Danish collective dunst, Club Wotever, wasted works, contaminated performances and the ‘lowest form of performance’ – living street sculptures. Forms of trashy articulation including soap box articles, TV Chat Shows and Tabloid Newspapers interrupt and compliment more formal essays and interviews in this special issue!

Contributors include: Augusto Corrieri, Bryony Kimmings, Eirini Kartsaki, Johanna Linsley, Lisa Wesley, Lorena Rivero de Beer, Marcia Farquhar, Marianne Mulvey, Mathias Danbolt, Oriana Fox, R. Justin Hunt, Rachel Lois Clapham, Season Butler, Tero Nahua, The Famous Lauren Barri Holstein, Vikki Chalklin.

If you are in London on October 25 at 18.00, pop by Toynbee Studios (28 Commercial Lane) for the release party and get a copy!

But it might be a good idea to come to Toynbee’s earlier on that Tuesday to experience the Trash Salon running between 14.00-18.00 where many of us DTJ-contributers will be performing. I’m gonna do a text-performance entitled “Getting Trashed: Scraps from the Dustbin of History”…

The Trash Salon kickstarts the week of Trashing Performance Public Programme which will make London quite a lot filthier:

Whereas the Trash Salon on Tuesday the 25th is free, the Trashing Performance events taking place later on in the week is ticketed. But I can assure you it will be worth the money, as you get the chance to hear people like Lauren Berlant, José Munoz, Vaginal Davis, Jennifer Doyle, Louis Weaver, Bird la Bird, Mel Brimfield, Gavin Butt, David Hoyle, Oreet Ashery, etc etc etc. See you there!

Mediernes islam-kritiske rygmarvsreaktion

Under er et leserbrev jeg skrev til Politiken for noen uker siden, som aldri kom på trykk grunnet plassmangel på debattsidene. Tenkte det like så godt kunne legges på nettet – selv om det allerede er noe utdatert…

Mediernes islam-kritiske rygmarvsreaktion
af Mathias Danbolt

I Politikens artikel 26/7 om mediernes dækning af terrorangrebet i Norge, fremhæver Mark Ørsten fra RUC, hvordan “sammenhængen mellem terror og islamisme er blevet en rygmarvsreaktion i medierne”. Rektor for Danmarks Journalist- og Mediehøjskole Anne-Marie Dohm er uenig i analysen og hævder, at “Vores opfattelse af, hvem der står bag terror, er jo meget præget af de senere års terrorhandlinger, som rent faktisk har været udført af islamister. Vi har set terrorhandlinger, som minder om terrorhandlingen i Oslo, i blandt andet Oklahoma, som er rettet direkte mod regeringskomplekser. Så man kan ikke fortænke medierne i at søge den form for forklaring.”

Citatet står som et skræmmende eksempel på netop den rygmarvsreaktion, som Ørsten peger på. Dohm fremhæver Oklahoma-angrebet i 1995 som eksempel på naturligheden af, at medierne tror terror mod demokratiske institutioner må stamme fra islamister. Men kan Dohm ikke huske, at dette angreb netop kom fra hvide amerikanske terrorister – med Timothy McVeigh og Terry Nichols i spidsen – hvis ideologiske baggrund hentede inspiration fra højreekstremister?

Oklahomabomben er netop en påmindelse om, hvor vigtigt det er at tage højreekstremismen alvorligt: McVeigh fremhæver den hvide suprematist William Luther Pierces ideologiske pamflet The Turner Diaries (1978) som inspirationskilde. Det samme finder man i Anders Behring Breiviks manifest 2083.

At rektor Dohm omskriver historien for at forsvare mediernes tunnelsyn på Islam er problematisk. At Politikens journalist ikke påpeger hendes fejlslutning og konfronterer hende med hendes islamkritiske rygmarvsreaktion er en skam.

Queer feminist ‘wishful thinking’ in Fett

A new issue of the Norwegian feminist magazine Fett is out today, focusing on “humor”. My second column in this great magazine is a self-study guide to “queer feminist wishful thinking” (“ønsketenkning”).

The column is a response to the many derogatory comments in Norwegian public debate on how queer theory and criticism is merely a bunch of ‘wishful thinking’ (Knut Olav Åmås, et al). Picking up this disparaging phrase, I argue that an important motor behind queer feminist critique is precisely its wish to think better – and do better.

Writing up against the ubiquitousness of a pragmatic discourse of quick and easy answers within gender and sexual political discussion in the mainstream in Norway, I attempt to reclaim the importance of utopian (or nowtopian) ‘wishful thinking’, drawing on a diverse and heterogenous crowd of queer and feminist visionaries including Shulamith Firestone, José Munoz, Nina Power, Lilian Munk Rösing, and Jill Dolan…

Norway need more weird and visionary queer feminisms! That is at least my wishful thinking…

Chewing the Scenery

The Venice Biennial is coming up, and I’ve been fortunate to be invited to join Andrea Thal’s important queer and anti-racist project at the Swiss Pavillion entitled “Chewing the Scenery.”

The website for the project is just up, and I’m really looking forward to see Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz’s new works “No Future” and “No Past” which together with Tim Zulauf/KMU Produktionen’s installative dramatization “Deviare – Vier Agenten – Part of a Movie” will be presented at Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice. The project also includes a book and a seminar. The Chewing the Scenery-book includes contributions by fantastic theorists and artists such as Antke Engel, Ann Cvetkovich, Patricia Purtschert, Rubia Salgado, Uriel Orlov, Eran Schaerf, Maria Iorio/Raphaël Cuomo, and others. The seminar in September will feature many of these people together with among others the queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman.

I have written a text in the book, and will give a lecture at the seminar in September. My article is entitled “Simultaneously: Queer Politics – All At Once.” My text takes the song “Simultaneously” by the queer disco group MEN as a starting point to discuss queer temporalities, erotic historiographies, AIDS, prognosis time, chronopolitics, simultaneity, state racism, white supremacy, colorblindness, racial silence, gay imperialism, and the need for queer politics to deal with all at once.

PSi 17: Trashing Performance

Performance Studies International‘s annual conference takes place in Utrecht this year between May 25-29, and has the title “Camilo 2.0: technology, Memory, Experience.” I’m currently working on my paper for the conference entitled “This Performance Stinks: DUNST, trash, and the politics of arrested development.” My abstracts reads:

“Since their formation in 2001 in Copenhagen, the Danish performance and activist collective DUNST has made their name on the cultural scene with trashy genderfuck performances, outrageous parties, and a number of scandalous interventions on public radio and TV.

This paper analyzes the politics of DUNST’s performance practice, focusing on their investment in trashing of everything from high culture to respectable heteronormality. DUNST’s practice does not fit easily within traditional idioms of politics, due to their avoidance of the realm of the serious by all means, disassociating themselves from norms of appropriate behavior. Focusing on the figure of the perverted child endlessly caught in the “anal stage” that keeps recurring in their performances, I’m interested in reading DUNST’s practice as an example of what I call the politics of arrested development: a politics centered on refusing to “grow up” and align oneself with the straight timelines of heteronormative society.

Although DUNST’s staging of “arrested development” can be said to problematize heteronormative politics and codes of conduct, I’m interested in addressing the potential limits of this position in light of issues concerning race, whiteness, and privilege. Can their refusal of norms and appropriate behavior take part in creating other forms of normalities and other Others? And by what standards may we judge the practice of a group who not only vehemently disassociates itself from political and progressive value systems, but whose practice can hardly be said to be consistent?”

I’ll present my paper in the panel “Trashing Performance,” with the fantastic members of my research group by that name. We’re part of the Performance Matters research program – a AHRC-funded collaboration between Goldsmiths University, Rohampton University and Live Art Development Agency.

The “Trash Team,” as we’re called, have a joint session at PSi 17 comprised of a panel and a shift: I’ll present my paper in the panel “Trashing Performance” together with Vikki Chalklin, João Florêncio, and Gavin Butt (chair). After a short break, “The O Show” will take over the stage, hosted by the one and only Oriana Fox, who talk to the guests of the night: Owen G. Parry, Vikki Chalklin, João Florêncio, and Jay Stewart.

“The O Show” will be streamed online, so you can all watch and participate from a computer near you on Thursday May 26, between 19.30 and 21.00. More info will follow.

See the preliminary program for PSi 17 here (PDF).

Queerfeministisk gledesdreping i Fett

A new issue of the Norwegian feminist magazine Fett is out today on the International Women’s Day. The issue looks really great with lots of good feminist stuff. I am honored to have a new column in this great feminist magazine, and my first text is a self study course in how-to-become-a-queer-feminist-killjoy entitled, “Selvstudiekurs i queerfeministisk gledesdreping”.

The text is written in homage to feminists who have learned me about the importance of ‘killing joy’: Sara Ahmed, Audre Lorde and Jamaica Kincaid – heroines of mine that I want to propagate in every way I can. If one could just have a little bit of their fierceness, wit, and intelligence, then things would be much better. I hope you all have a great and angry March 8!

Tilbake til fremtiden

I have an article in the new issue of Vagant entitled “Tilbake til fremtiden” (Back to the future) dealing with the situation of queer theory, gender studies and critical thinking more broadly in the context of Norwegian public debate.

The text is a reworked version of the talk I gave in Oslo in November, and a large part of the text is a reading of public debate following the TV show “Hjernevask” (Brainwash) that, in short, attempted to disarticulate and kill off gender studies and queer theory…

There is an interview with me in today’s issue of Klassekampen about the article – read it online here. Vagant will be released on Wednesday March 9.

Temporal Drag

The fantastic artist duo Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz has just released a new book about their work entitled Temporal Drag (Hatje Cantz, 2011). The book includes articles and documentation of their collaboration – covering material on works like Normal Work (2007), N.O. Body (2008), Salomania (2009), and Contagious (2010).

I’m really happy that my article “Disruptive Anachronisms: Feeling Historical with N.O. Body” is included in this beautiful book, where it stands side by side with essays by among others the fantastic queer theorist Elizabeth Freeman, queer film theorist Marc Siegel, and art theorist/writer Diedrich Diederichsen. The book also includes a conversation with the artist by the great artist-curator Andrea Thal. For those who prefer reading things in French, all texts are translated.

Read more on the artists’ homepage, or buy the book at Hatje Cantz, Amazon, or elsewhere.