a cycle of three exhibitions exploring queer
artistic practices in 2020 and 2021
at Maison Populaire, Montreuil (FR)
Many contemporary authors describe in great detail the state of systemic crisis we are facing (environmental, migratory, social and political crises), which Mark Fisher - the late British cultural critic – measures in terms of a sense of the future’s slow cancellation. Progressive narrowing of the horizon, drying up of our capacities to consider and debate alternatives to advanced capitalism, the present and its heavy ineluctability can only announce today its own repetition, passively identical, leaving us waiting for inexorable disasters – à la white walkers.
Slavoj Žižek announced in a 2008 interview: “Look at science fiction: it is obviously easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism”. This sentence, whose authorship is disputed, now famous in popular culture and critical theory, has often been mobilized in a truncated form: to the detriment of Žižek’s link to science fiction. However, the slow cancellation of the future has constantly challenged the political and utopian potential that the countless contributors of this genre, long considered minor, have tirelessly sought to describe. It should perhaps be recalled here that the plural literature grouped under the name science fiction cannot be simply subsumed under the spectacular interpretation in which Hollywood studios have been more or less successful.
Rather than insisting on the contemporary inability to tell disruptive stories, many feminist and queer voices, lulled by the songs of speculative fiction, intone the difficult enunciation of new virtualities. In 2009, the American researcher José Esteban Muños called for utopian futurities, brought about through the artistic work and alternative, communitarian sociabilities of queer relationalities. By focusing on the way queer artists create their genealogies while proposing, through their works, concrete practices of otherness as well as platforms of demands, he insists on the fact that not only do these ways of inhabiting the world anticipate a future, but also make it possible.
Donna Haraway, herself a science fiction lover, invites us in Fabrizio Terranova’s documentary Story Telling for Earthly Survival to “make kin” by forging material links of belonging to others and to the world, in order to consider an alternative future. In drawing the fictional moment of the Chtulucene, she enjoins humanity to use its imagination to conceive for the species and the planet a destiny of hybridization and cohabitation producing transformative difference.
Elective, rather than biological or socially registered, relational and genealogical practices of disidentification and queer re-identification work towards the non-repetition of normative injunctions that weigh on them. This ambition to open up new futurities that do not simply proceed through a reproduction of the present reveals a strategic program that is embodied in various fields: from the artistic to activism, from the intimate to political demands.
By investing the works of a young generation of queer artists, poets, publishers and theorists, I intend to show that they constitute pragmatic as well as realistic proposals of otherness, along programs of action and resistance that aim to inform our relations to the world. Thus, they are deeply rooted in what Manuel Selgade calls the selective tradition of the contemporary field of artistic practices i.e. the modalities of creating and publishing critical content that transform the data of the present. More specifically, I would like to focus on queer and intersectional artistic endeavors that do not simply focus on the necessary acceptance of differences of sexual orientation and gender identity, but also on what queer thoughts and practices can do to organize a post-capitalist, ecological and anti-racist future.
This project is made possible thanks to the curatorial residency of Maison populaire, with the support of Ministère de la Culture - DRAC Île-de-France, Conseil régional d’Île-de-France, Conseil départemental de la Seine-Saint-Denis, Ville de Montreuil, CNC - Dicréam and Fluxus Art Projects.