Vortragseinladung 20.01.2010: Visual aspects of queer festivals in ex Yugoslavia

Sanja Kajnic, M.A.
Visual aspects of queer festivals in ex Yugoslavia
Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2010, 19ct, Von Melle Park 5 („Wiwi Bunker“) 0079

Angesichts der ausführlichen folgenden Ankündigung sei lediglich vorweggeschickt, daß Sanja Kajnic PhD Student des Gender Department der Central European University in Budapest ist, der Vortrag in englischer Sprache gehalten wird und am Montag 14:00 auf Radio FSK der Vortrag vom 25.9.2009: Svenja Schröder zur feministischen Netzkultur gesendet wird.

Zum Vortrag am Mittwoch:

The lecture will present my phd research-in-progress that explores the debates Throughout the region of ex-Yugoslavia, the LGBT rights movement has been gaining advances and becoming articulated largely due to the activities of LGBT activists. The activists have not been the only ones who influenced both the public and the queer communities‘ perception of politics and practices of identity and citizenship. A significant and under-researched part has been play- ed by artists. What brings together these different actors and their strategies can be located in the field of visibility in the public sphere around LGBT persons that presents a novelty in ex Yugoslav countries. On the one hand, the LGBT organizations periodically launch visibility campaigns that ask for human rights of LGBT persons relying on chosen affirmative representations. On the other, the wave of queer festivals that has swept the region (all started within the last 6 years, except one much older Gay and lesbian festival) engage the field of visual culture in a quite different, polyphonic ways that however have their effects on the changes in the imaginary. While the activist network of LGBT organizations has a long standing in ex Yugoslavia and connections to other social movements (feminist and anti-war), the novelty of the recent period is the cooperation among the cultural festivals that thematize queer in 5 out of 7 ex Yugoslav countries. The festival organizers adjust the festival dates, cooperate, even organize meetings, and are self-consciously engaged in intensive circulation of visual images that work towards establishing the contours of what has been called post-socialist queer (Dobrovic, 2004).

The lecture will present my phd research-in-progress that explores the debates born out of the intersection of the feminist film/visual arts criticism and queer theory in connection with the art work generated around those festivals, and with the visual representations of the LGBT movement. The question asked is:
how do they engage the visual power of art to influence changes in the public imaginary. The aim is to explore the process of articulation of post-socialist queer aesthetics and its potential links with empowerment and politics. Through the analysis of the perceptions of the various actors in these events, I wish to explore different strategies of queer visibility/visuality, and their respective functions in or against the politics of normalisation . The research questions will investigate the relationship between politics and art practices using the case studies of the dynamics between queer visual arts practices and social movements in the context of different strategies used by the queer festivals and LGBT movement in ex-Yugoslavia. The research on the visual aspects of the queer festivals in ex-Yugoslavia will explore the intentions and effects of queer visual and performative art on local audiences and on public opinion to be able to see how art influences public discourses and under which conditions art reaches particular publics. One important aspect of the research will consist of exploring what queer art means in this particular context, its similarities and differences to other forms of political art. While I will attend to the naming and representation practices of artists and festival organizers (what queer art is, according to them), and engage in the interpretation of the art/visual material itself, the research will remain open to following how the audiences estimate or talk about the art and visual material they observe