I can’t quite remember how the first contact was established. Let’s say sometime last year I received an email from Laura, telling me and Tom or Judy, my flat mate and dear friend, about the Whose Museum and asking if we were interested in curating one of five chapters for the Whose Museum at KRETS together.

The Whose Museum came into existence in 2008 when Laura was on tour. There was a lab coat, a costume made by a performance artist and drummer who went by Dr. Storey, which is now on display at the Whose Museum. Dr. Storey made the costume with the badges and asked audience members to donate random things to the collection, some more badges were added, but also different objects and drawings.

Since then the collection has grown to include hair, smells, a belt made out of a burned flag and much more. The Whose Museum had some short term exhibitions in basements, bars and courtyards, but is now for the first time set at KRETS, a gallery in Malmö, for a whole year. 

Chapters 1&2

Tom or Judy and I both immediately agreed to become part of this weird and extremely charming project, but decided to split our work up a bit. I would be representing TQU, bringing in some films from our short film nights and photos from a photo competition. Tom or Judy would create work from within the exhibition, and invite people to participate in a fashion show at KRETS, later making the work and fashion show into a film, which will then be represented on TQU. Together we form Chapter three of Whose Museum at KRETS, adding to the display of the amazing work of Alanna Lynch, Maria Wæhrens, Max Ockborn and others. 

So in preparation for this exhibition I sent out a call for photo competition on Climate Change/Climate Crisis and received a selection of very thoughtful submissions. I picked seven of those to be printed and to become part of the exhibition at Whose Museum. We also printed handouts for people to read the background stories of the photos. You can find all of them and their stories on TQU

We also picked a selection of films from our Short Film Nights in Berlin to be shown on a screen with headphones within the exhibition for the duration of this chapter. The program is about one hour all together and so far people have been visibly enjoying this opportunity, watching all or some of the films.

The films on display are:

GOOD ARTIST, 2019 (OMER MOSKOVICH | ISRAEL), 03:03 MINS
Music video for the song Oman Tov (Good Artist, in Hebrew) by Omer Moskovich. A low budget videoclip criticizing the Israeli government’s new methods of censorship on art and artists.

SELF PORTRAIT, 2018 (FAUN HARJO | USA), 03:15 MINS
Struggling with gender identity, sexual orientation, and cultural identity has been a normal aspect of my life. Being pulled in and out of native culture and feeling like my queerness was unwelcome by my people, I separated myself for years. Now I explore my relationship with my culture by decolonizing myself and others by sharing my identity openly and honestly.

HOME VISIT, 2018 (ANNAMARIA CRAPAROTTA | ITALY), 03:30 MINS
Home visit is a short film in which the director, back in her hometown, faces some very uncomfortable questions about her life during a conversation with her grandmother. Home visit becomes a chance to frame a life-changing moment in the director’s life.

PRAGMA, 2014 (DINA PARK | SOUTH KOREA/NEW ZEALAND), 16:00 MINS
Yoo-Hee and Joo-Yeon fell in love in high school, but their school’s persecution of gays tore them apart. When they meet again years later, sparks fly.

BROKEN DOLL, 2018 (GASPAR AGUIRRE | ARGENTINA), 04:21 MINS
A young teenager is going through a hard phase because of his self-image and the external pressure of how he should be.

XXOY, 2016 (LESIA VASYLCHENKO | UKRAINE/NORWAY), 08:37 MINS
The nonlinear narrative video XX0Y is based on the story of a person who recalls his experiences, feelings, and thoughts living as an intersex in Post-Soviet times. The main character owns a zero chromosome and can’t identify himself as a man nor woman. He is rethinking the past, present and future, searching for his own place in a world beyond the constraints of gender. “XX0Y is a meditative work that draws on my interests in the dual searches for cultural and self-identity. My generation, born in the early 1990’s, is tending to self-determination, trying to reinvent itself and explore the possibilities of post-identity politics.”

FOIBLE, 2018 (SIMMIE SANGIAN | USA), 06:09 MINS
At a house party Sofia’s inner criticism manifests into human form and constantly reminds her of her short comings.

VA-BENE, 2018 (BRENDA JORDE | GERMANY), 11:14 mins
Va-Bene is a performance artist who criticizes and draws attention to the restrictive and religious approach to gender that is present in Ghanaian society. This portrait is focused on his performance of femininity, which seeks to challenge and subvert Ghanaian perceptions of what it is to be a woman. Va-Bene shows that you can be an ally through art, and fight for what you think is right.

F TO M,2019 (SHAHRAD SHAHVAREH | IRAN), 02:44 MINS
This short film shows just a small part of an Iranian transgender’s emotions and limitations and the way he fights. This is a picture of the tough emotions a F to M transgender youth has to go through to get to live his original and true real self. Director and Actor of this short movie is an Iranian transgender Shahrad Shahvareh himself, who is forced to wear a hijab until he gets an official sex change.

SOMBRERO, 2017 (JEREMIAH ESTELA MAGONCIA | SOUTH KOREA ), 15:30 MINS
Two perfect strangers meet by chance in the Philippines. While traveling, they begin to form a special connection as they share their own stories but the bond is cut short as one has to fly back to Korea while one remains to travel alone.

CROOKED, 2014 (BRIANA BLADES AND KRISTIN KENT | CANADA), 5:39 MINS
A documentary about genderqueer journalist, poet and artist Jess Sachse who is living with a congenital disability.

BE WHAT YOU WANT- QUEER FEMINIST ARTIST, 2019 (JAMES ROSALIND | GERMANY), 12:24 MINS
“We’d like to think of ourselves, not as pawns in a bigger picture, but as agents of our own destiny”. Berlin, is an open-minded, creative city, home to many queers and artists, chances for networking and collaboration. However, the German creative industries and society are still very much cis-male favoured. Two videographers talk about their experiences of art, work precarity, hope, feminism and community.

For the opening on Saturday, which to my delight was during the day and alcohol free, I gave a short talk about the work I do with TQU, how people can participate and the reasons why I think art and activism from queer perspectives can be (and might always have been) the most powerful.    

some impressions from the exhibition

Lots of lovely people came. We had good discussions about different topics, one standing out, about the question of using nation states in the context of TQU. I had written and thought a lot about that at one point when I started TQU, but it has slipped a bit into the back of my head over the course of time. So I’m very grateful for the reminder and hope to have more discussions around that, so that I, we, can find better solutions. 

And as things always go, one of the participants knew one of the photographers in the exhibition, another had seen #TheGalleryProject in Prague two years ago and I’m sure there were more things overlapping that we just didn’t have enough time to find out about. 

I’m very grateful for this wonderful experience and opportunity. Working with Laura at KRETS was so pleasant and inspiring, I do hope we keep in touch as friends and that our projects can find ways to collaborate again in the future.

by Verena

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