The remit of the “<Interrupted = “Cyfem and Queer>” symposium stretches well beyond its titular queer and cyberfeminist foundations. A disruption, a shock to the active force of social, political and ideological ‘waves’, the highly experimental series takes on the formidable task of encouraging conversation and collaboration across not only geographical locations but generations. The event is organised by Berlin-based interdisciplinary art and music platform Creamcake —also responsible for the annual 3hd Festival and Tokyo’s インフラ INFRA—and exists at a point of tension between the art, activism and academia of the past, present and future.
Too often lost to the noise of an expansive and atomized digital network, ‘Interrupted’ brings local and translocal feminist and queer groups into a single space, and allows for contingency. The inaugural 2018 event featured presentations by the likes of Cornelia Sollfrank and Legacy Russell, a video station with work by Jaakko Pallasvuo and Indrani Ashe, and performances by Swan Meat, Lamb Kebab, Georges Jacotey and many more. This year, the program pulls focus away from the broader reflections on gender as it relates to digital spaces and technologies, to exploring the biotechnological and political realities around identity, sex and the body.
The artists, activists and academics invited this year bring their lived experience into their practices, examining agency and the disruption of the status quo via media and technology. The selection is broad and divergent, numbering 25 participants, including media activist and cyberpunk pioneer Diana McCarty, ethnographic researcher Lina Bonde and professor and social worker Zülfukar Çetin. Artist, writer and trained architect Bassem Saad looks at affect, bodily pleasure and violence in the ‘systemcare (queer fear and moorings of the skin)’ online lecture performance. Scholar, practitioner and poet Tiara Roxanne’s ‘Indigenous Body, Indigenous Borders: A Digital Disruption’ presentation examines re-inscribing pre-existing colonial biases into Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Split into day and night, the first part of the ‘Interrupted’ symposium will start at one of two community-run spaces, aquarium, with a couple of workshops, followed by the aforementioned presentations, along with others by the likes of Marija Bozinovska Jones, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Maren Karlson and shawné michaelain holloway. A lecture performance by Gucci Chunk (aka Göksu Kunak) builds on the work of Paul B. Preciado and other radical gender-hackers in ‘Döner-Blackout or Press Conference: Testo Soap’. Victoria Larsson is a yoga teacher with a background in psychology and performing arts who collaborates with political scientist Anna Stiede on ‘Are we cyborgs yet?’ The workshop looks at ideas of self-care and our relationship to smart technology through the yoga tradition’s principles of mind, body and spirit.
The night will carry through to an exciting music showcase at Südblock, featuring the dissonant post-club sound of Berlin’s Ziúr, deconstructed pop of Karma She and Tarek X’s lo-fi techno and dark ambient. Athens-based fashion designer and drag performer Nikolaos Tsironis appears as Daglara the Awful for ‘Golgotha’, while topping the bill is Total Freedom (aka Ashland Mines). Now based in Miami, the pioneering DJ is credited with heading the cohort of queer club kids reclaiming the mainstream at the margins in the 2010s. Starting the short-lived Wildness parties, followed by the now infamous Fade to Mind club nights, Mines was a key part of the hyper-connected online and IRL community of chaotic genre-bending dance music that took root in Los Angeles and spilled out into New York’s GHE20 G0TH1K and later #ShockvalueNYC. As just one of many signposts in the living and breathing organism that is an ever-expanding digital-queer generation of self-empowering communities, “<Interrupted = “Cyfem and Queer>” aims to put them together with others and see what can happen.**