(Artwork by Antonia Gurkovska)
May 29 – July 5 2014
29.05. 18:30 – opening of group exhibition in Vaska Emanouilova Gallery
30.05. 18:30 – opening of the video installation by Darina Alster and the exhibition Emotional Objects in the fridge & Social Center Haspel
31.05. 17:00-18:00 – a conversation with Darina Alster on queer art in Czech Republic and the intercultural dialogue between Bulgaria and the Czech Republic in the fridge & Social Center Haspel
31.05. 19:00-20:30 – screening of short feature films – a selection from Mezipatra Queer Film Fest, Czech Republic in the fridge & Social Center Haspel
The concept of this year’s Sofia Queer Forum, Manifestations of the Personal, resulted mainly from the Politics-Art-Gender/Queer panel discussion initiated after the forum’s first edition in 2012, published in the online magazine for art and criticism Blister. A contentious issue in the discussion was that sexuality and sexual identity are something personal and, as such, are apolitical – just as one’s taste for clothing, food or music. In conclusion, one of the participants in the discussion came to the question: Why politicize the apolitical?
Yes, the issues of gender, gender identity and sexuality can be perceived as personal (and apolitical?) but only in an ideal environment free from any conflicts. It is a fact, however, that we are not living in one. Here and now (in Bulgaria, Europe, the world, albeit to a different extent) there are established and sometimes seemingly unshakable standpoints prescribed by the heteronorm. By deviating from it or not accepting it, an individual comes into a direct confrontation with moral and institutional prescriptions, the transgression of which is invariably “political”. Speaking about the notions of queer the sublime moment of manifestation of the personal (i.e. its becoming public) is saturated with conflicts and contradictions and it is precisely this fullness of senses, meanings and interpretations that is the uniting theme of this year’s forum.
This year’s Sofia Queer Forum concept “Manifestations of the Personal” resulted mainly from the panel discussion “Politics-Art-Gender” initiated after the forum’s first edition in 2012, published in the online magazine Blister. One of the discussion’s contested points was that sexuality is something personal and is as such apolitical – just like one’s taste in clothing, food or music. In the conclusions one of the discussion’s participants arrived at the question: Why politicize something apolitical?..
Sofia Queer Forum is an event that investigates, with the means of contemporary arts, gender and sexuality as parallel systems through which we value ourselves and the others around us. These systems have a strong influence on all aspects of culture and society. The influence is, of course, two-sided. This is why in focus here is also the changing of the concepts “gender” and “sexuality” depending on social, political, cultural and medical factors that are inherent in a given time and space.