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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Future Queer Perfect at Station Independent Projects

Image above © Cary Cronenwett, Maggots and Men, 2009, (photo:Daniel Nicoletta) Courtesy of the artists @ Station Independent Projects, NYC. 

With inspiration from American academic José Esteban Munoz’s writings on queerness as a utopian form, Station Independent Projects has created Future Queer Perfect. The exhibition explores a queer utopia by looking to communist and political left history. By appropriating the past and applying a queer dimension to history, the artists in the show retroactively modify left wing political utopia to include queerness and position it as a part of a possible future.

Yevgeniy Fiks’ “Portfolio of Woodcuts” covers the walls of the gallery and sets the tone of the exhibition. The wooden plates are inscribed with quotes from Harry Hay, communist and founder of the first gay rights group in America, and reveal the contradiction of being communist and gay in the 50s.

Image above: Courtesy of the artists, curators, Station Independent Projects & Cameron Blaylock

The exhibition includes two video works. Cary Cronenwett’s Maggots and Men shows a reenactment of a rebellion in post revolutionary Russia, but modifies it with a gender anarchy twist and thereby inserts a queer dimension to 1920s Soviet. The other video work, Queer In space: Kollontai commune, by School of Theory and Activism, Bishkek (stab) intervenes history by using the archive of a queer communist collective associated with the architecture school in the 70s. Queer in Space brings an interesting queer perspective to the era’s obsession with space. The video describes how in Soviet’s cult sci-fi from the 70’s, the nuclear family was basically said to be outdated in the future. Space functioned as a type of future utopia and in that utopia the traditional family constellation was obsolete. Today we can look back at this with a queer gaze and see a queer utopia, in space, that wasn’t realized.

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Image above: School of Theory and Activism, Bishkek (STAB). Queer in Space: "Kollontai Commune" in Frunze of the 1970s, 2014-2015, Video, timeline, courtesy: the artists @ Station Independent Projects, NYC

Text by Helena Calmfors

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