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Skopje Pride Weekend 10: Ecstatic Bodies

02/06/ 2022 - 11/06/ 2022

 

This year is the 10th edition of the Skopje Pride Weekend, the festival for queer arts, culture and theory, whose goal is creating space for the presentation and promotion of non-normative forms of world-making, that is to say, relations, affects, identity positions, bodily styles and sensibilities that have been marked, by the heteronormative, nationalistic and neoliberal capitalist context, as queer, eccentric failures.

 

Starting from the presumption that intersectionality is the crucial paradigm by the means by which all identity positions are constructed and performed, including gender and sexual identities, with the program we want to offer a radical and multifaceted critique of the binary gender system, heteronormativity, and nationalistic homophobia, as well of the intersections of these oppressive and disciplinary regimes of power with class, ethnicity, race, and health. Queerness, as the foundational premise of our festival, signifies a way of life, the art of the stylization of one’s own and collective life, a political tool and attitude that resists the dominant models of power/knowledge that orchestrate and regulate some sexual and gender identities as “normal,” while others as “queer.” The queer political and cultural orientation critically investigates and problematizes our desires and aspirations for conformism and normality, including the hegemonic assumption and values about love, intimacy, kinship, embodiment, capitalist competitiveness and egoism, commodity fetishism, as well as the contemporary discursive performatives of the nation-state.

 

The programme’s focus of the Skopje Pride Weekend is set on cultural and arts performing practices, as well as gender, sexuality and queer theory’s knowledge productions and critique. This choice is made on the grounds of our commitment to the idea that the “aesthetic” is deeply engrained in the corporeal experience, and as such lies in the base of the social, cultural and political experience.  Hence, if the political ideology and hegemonic cultural models instill their orders on the citizens’ bodies and shape their emotional orientations and sensibilities (the aesthetic domain), the body and the affective and emotional relations become the crucial site for thinking and creating resistance and alternative life forms. The performing arts and body arts practices mobilize exactly these tensions of power inscribed in our bodies, and subversively redirect them in alternative and non-normative directions. The body, in the critical feminist and queer performative practices is the battleground whereby power relations are actualized and contested. Transdisciplinarity is the other program orientation of the Festival, and through it we want to establish a dialogue between different social sciences and humanities disciplines, cultural and artistic practices, and political and public discourses, as well as to promote gender and queer theory discourses in our context, as a new methodological frameworks for the reception of art, and a critical interpretation of political reality.

 

In the course of previous years we have hosted exhibitions, performances, lectures, seminars by Vaginal Davis and Boryana Rossa, Cassils, Hélène Barriere and Victor Marzouk, Dominic Johnson, Aérea Negrot, Ephemeral Confessions, Del LaGrace Volcano, David Hoyle and the Lipsinkers, Ivo Dimchev, Travis Alabanza, Ron Athey, boychild, Rachael Young, David M. Halperin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Renate Lorenz and Pauline Boudry, Karin Michalski, Federica Dauri and Hermes Pittakos, Keijaun Thomas, STEAM ROOM, Lauren Berlant, FRANKO B, Nao Bustamante and Marcus Kuiland Nazario, SVETLOST, SPIT! Manifesto collective, Jelisaveta Blagojevic, etc.

 


 

Program at the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje

 

02 June | 20:30 h

Ecstatic Bodies: Archive of Performative Queer Bodies in Macedonia

– Exhibition –

Curators: Slavcho Dimitrov and Biljana Tanurovska-Kjulavkovski

 

with: Wolfgang Tillmans | Nora Stojanovic | Milosh Kodzoman and Dragoljub Bezan| Hristina Ivanoska | Velimir Zernovski |Yane Chalovski | Sands Murray Wassink | Kocho Andonovski | Natasha Geleva | STEAM ROOM | Aleksandar Georgiev | Dario Barreto Damas | Viktorija Ilioska | Laura Fer| Mirko Popov | Zoran Ristevski-Bajbe | Ivana Dragsic | Sonja Ismail |TEMPLUM | Euro-Balkan Institute |Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities Skopje | Museum of Contemporary Arts | FRIK Festival | First Born Girl | Skopje Pride Weekend|

 


 

02 June | 20:30 h.

Aleksandar Georgiev

“Echoes of S”

-landscaped choreographic work-

*The work will be performed during the opening night of the exhibition “Ecstatic Bodies: Archive of Performative Queer Bodies in Macedonia”

 

Echoes of S is an artistic proposal by the choreographer Aleksandar Georgiev within the frame of his ongoing interest around “anal politics”. In this work, Aleksandar choreographs a collaboration with the photo artist Martin Atanasov and creates an environment that activates the spaces between live performance and photography, focusing on the poetic potentials the anus entails, conceptually and physically.

 

Choreography and performance: Aleksandar Georgiev; Photography: Martin Atanasov; Soundscape: Tsvetan Momchilov; Graphic design: Gjorgji Despodov.

 

Produced by Aleksandar Georgiev. Coproduced by ICC (Imaginative Choreographic Center), Garage collective, Lokomotiva – center for new initiatives in arts and culture and Coalition MARGINS.

 

This project is realised with the financial support of National Cultural Fund in Bulgaria, as part of the project “Yearly program of ICC 2022”, organised by Garage Collective, and the financial Support of Ministry of Culture in North Macedonia, as part of the project “Choreographed bodies” organised by Lokomotiva.

 


 

 02 June | 22:00 h.

 

Hristina Ivanoska

„Document Missing: Performance no. 6 (Daughter)“, 2017/2022

Memories are raw speech material. Memories are dirty and unclean. How to reach the origin of memory? How can we return to the lived experience which is the core of what we later call “memory” if we have only the materials that have already been processed by the researcher, the historian, the journalist, the writer? How do we dive between words and get the gist?

 

Starting with a seemingly simple question “Who am I?”, Ivanoska finds her interlocutor in the person of Rosa Plaveva, a revolutionary of the early 20th century who lies forgotten in the archives of the past. “Document Missing: Performance no. 6 (Daughter)” is an attempt to tell a story about power, speech and punishment, and about the injustice, insult and trauma that has been inflicted and to be lived with. The focus is on the life of Nadezhda Plaveva Stanojevic, daughter of Rosa Plaveva, who during the Inform Bureau (1948-1956) was imprisoned by the UDBA (Yugoslav State Security Directorate) and sent to Goli Otok. She will talk about her traumatic experience in the feuilleton “Ibeovci”, which was published in 1990 in the Serbian newspaper “Borba”.

“Performance no. 6 (Daughter) “is part of Ivanoska’s ongoing research project entitled” Document Missing “(2014–) which deals with the suppressed collective memory in relation to strategies and politics of resistance of women. As the only protagonist in her performances, Ivanoska becomes a flexible and porous entity, a medium through which different identities and voices from the past are brought back to life. Through her texts and actions she creates situations that “happened or not,” and that fluctuate through time and space, based on documents and oral interpretations. She uses performance as a method, medium and metaphor.

 


 

03 June | 21:00 h.

Julie Tolentino & Stosh Fila

 

Performance-installation and durational performance

.bury.me.fiercely.

 

In collaboration with: Ivana Dragsic, Jovan Josifovski, Aleksandar Georgiev, and Jovan Gakovski

 

*The performance will be followed with a conversation with Julie Tolentino

 

At the transition from dusk into night, movers breathe, labor, and shift while sheathed under the cover of a thick “horizon” made from leather, scented oils, herbs, reflective surfaces, and dense sound.

 

Tolentino reaches for the sensual and speaks into the subjective excess of each encounter. Space and time open to the accounts of Others: the imprecisely labeled, unseen, or overlooked as and along with the inspiring visionaries who thrive as not-of-this-world queer future-makers.

 

The mirrors, drawing from Tolentino’s body of work, archive, and community, reflect how we become haunted by our growing ledger of ghosts. References to the aging body moving at a slower pace within a soft fleshy void that conceals the body while letting parts occasionally slip out into view through various holes, edges. Against neoliberal conceptions of wellness, whiteness, and wholeness, the figures are marked, wanting, and wrong: aging, brown, queer, decaying, disabled.

In .bury.me.fiercely. Mr. Exhibit A, The Shiny Dark Figure, and others each unfurl a distinct, ever-present attitude and embodiment – even if unseen. Circulating in the background, a video shot on the infamous Fire Island is the artist-as-object/artist-out-of-time performing inside a kind of void. Tolentino tunes us into spaces that generously blur yet ignite our shadowy interiors and fugitive poetics with time’s future-past.

Seen or unseen, legible or not, the performance reopens faded spaces for bodies to get a foothold, wander, and change — while regaining other time through the performers’ and our interloping interventions. We tangle among ourselves as dis- and re-assembling surfaces, and selves.

 This is a work that aims not merely to take its time, but to take time back. Bodies don’t recover but unfurl.

.bury.me.fiercely. asks us to stay with both presence and loss, resistance and grief.

Credits and acknowledgements:

Sounds heard during REPEATER are collected and developed in collaboration with two long-time sound collaborators from both the East and West coasts:  New York based artist, Aldo Hernandez-playing live and Los Angeles artist, Robert Crouch.

Tolentino dedicates this performance to their long-time collaborator/partner, Stosh Fila.

 

Julie Tolentino (performer/concept) is a Filipinx-Salvadorean artist whose performance/installation practice explores the interstitial spaces of race, gender, relationality, and the archive. Their collaborative projects include video, devised objects, works with glass, mirror, scent, soundscapes, and texts drawn from the “outside” learning spaces of activism, alterity, advocacy, loss, and caregiving. Tolentino’s work has been presented at museums, galleries, and festivals.

 


 

4 June | 21:00 h.

David Hoyle

David Hoyle: Live in Skopje

 

Out of the darkness and loneliness of life in lock down David Hoyle returns to the light to create an opportunity for healing, a coming together in mutual love and support – ‘in unity’, David tells us, ‘we will find strength’.

The Fireball of the cabaret apocalypse, David is the original performance avalanche – an all singing, all raging bona-fide legend.

 

David Hoyle

 

Performance artist and Manchester’s very own, David Hoyle came to prominence in the 1990s as the Divine David, a kind of anti-drag queen whose lacerating social commentary – targeting both bourgeois Britain and the materialistic-hedonistic gay scene, which he called “the biggest suicide cult in history” – was offset by breathtaking instances of self-recrimination and even self-harm.

Following a couple of outré late-night Channel 4 shows and a cameo in Velvet Goldmine, Hoyle killed the Divine David off during a spectacular show at the Streatham Ice Arena in 2000 and retreated to Manchester for “a period of reflection”.

He returned to TV screens in 2005 in Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley, and then began performing live again, under his own name. This time round, the chances of serious injury in any given show seemed greatly reduced, but Hoyle’s biting satire, bravura costumes, wicked comic timing and compelling charisma remained intact.

As well as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), with which he is most closely associated, he’s performed at the Soho Theatre, Chelsea Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Victoria & Albert Museum.

 


 

7 June | 20:30 h.

 

Jasmina Tumbas

Lecture: „ I am Jugoslovenka!”: Feminist performance politics during and after Yugoslav Socialism “

 

Jasmina Tumbas will discuss her recently published book, “I am Jugoslovenka!”: Feminist performance politics during and after Yugoslav Socialism (Manchester University Press, 2022). For Skopje Pride, Tumbas will focus on what she terms the emergence of a “queer” Jugoslovenka, including a discussion of her context in the 1980s and her legacy into our present moment. The talk will give a visual history of the Yugoslav lesbian and queer movement—one that privileges women’s explorations of their gender power in music, avant-garde art circles, and performance art—and traces its influences in contemporary visual culture and art, including the surfacing of transgender resistance and queer life in the newly formed national contexts.

 

Jasmina Tumbas (PhD, Art History, Duke University) is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art History & Performance Studies and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo. Her first book, “I Am Jugoslovenka!” Feminist Performance Politics During & After Yugoslav Socialism has recently been published by Manchester University Press’s Rethinking Art’s Histories series (February 2022). Tumbas is also working on a second manuscript, Feminists of the Yugoslav Diaspora: Art and Resistance Beyond Citizenship and Nationhood. She served as the guest-editor for the special issue of ArtLeaks Gazette #5: Patriarchy Over and Out: Discourse Made Manifest and her research has appeared in ArtMarginsCamera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media StudiesArt MonthlyArt in AmericaASAP JournalArt and Documentation, and in the anthologies Shifting Corporealities in Contemporary Performance and Performance Art in the Second Public Sphere.  

 

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