Curated by MAx Provenzano

The perception of identity as an expansive, constructive, reconstructive and deconstructive process led by the multiplicity that technical images can offer. Minorities are constantly finding performative ways to live life and manifest through all tensions and restrictions. Consequently the same queer body can be shaped by fragments that are related and crossed through the screens, devices are mainly used as an extension to communicate in this contemporary society, building and expressing constantly self-representations, backgrounds and feelings; there is an illusion that barriers can disappear by digital mediums and the internet. Nowadays, reality seems to have changed: we are distant and at the same time we are not. The selected works are a combination of performances, actions for the camera and recordings that show different perspectives of identity through this dichotomy, located in distant places but close enough to appreciate.

Bożna Wydrowska, I am going to use this body to become you (2020)

This choreographic solo performance is the result of research on the level of verbal and movement dialogue. The artist explores the aspect of performing identity in the context of self and communal forms of presence. By combining distinct forms such as the aesthetics of ballroom categories and experimental choreographic practices, she is looking for a type of movement and presence that allows her to explore the subject of identity. Her artistic work draws attention to the fact that as individuals we are a juxtaposition of other individuals and depending on who we associate with – our identity may constantly change.

Hannes Egger, Performance Now (2019)

Egger‘s practice is an essentially conceptual approach aimed at engaging and interacting with the public. His performances, installations and participatory projects invite people to adopt an unusual attitude or viewpoint, in order to reflect on our surrounding reality and the way we share the spaces we inhabit. Egger often provides coordinates or instructions to follow, and thus turns the action of the participant into the artwork itself.

The artist’s primary medium is audio-performative installation. Visitors often receive headphones when entering the exhibition. A speaker‘s voice, accompanied by suitable sonic compositions, leads the listeners through the most imaginary spaces and prompts them to carry out performative acts. Hannes Egger creates the audio performances primarily in-situ by addressing specific spaces with their social, artistic and historical implications. In terms of content, as a trained philosopher, he draws primarily on the history of philosophy, literature, art history, architecture and encounters with local people.

Performance Now is an invitation to put on the red sweater and act out a clearly defined performance based on Judith Butler’s extension of the performance concept to gender theory. According to Butler, gender identity – like identity in general – is not ontologically or biologically given but performative.

Natasha Nedelkova, Identity Tissues (2020)

To what extent the historical roots of the masks can be reflected in our present moment? In this video the artist puts herself on stage using different masks in order to question the links between identity, memory and visual perception. By adopting a confessional prism, she tries to point out to the implicit transition that the voice, the rhythm, the frame and the mask can produce as therapeutic temporality. She questions the formation of her own subjectivity, considering the architectural transformation of her hometown (Skopje, North Macedonia) in the recent past. The project entitled “Skopje 2014” masked the modernist city of Skopje (the architectural project of Kenzo Tange) into a wonderland of a neo-classicist fantasy.

Jinxiao Zhou, The Art of Loving Our Selves (2020)

How can performance create a safe place to unlearn intersectional shame, practice self-love and live towards authenticity? How can performance-based methods help the people in the LGBTQ+ community who are suffering from embodied shame unlearn their shame?

As an Asian and queer young artist, I was suffering from feelings of shame because of my sexual orientation. This is the reason why I launched my artistic research and practice in the Netherlands. Inspired by the American psychologist and writer Alan Downs and his book The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man’s World, I developed two lecture-performances as part of my master degree graduation show in HKU (MFA in Art and Design, Utrecht). In Alan Down’s book, he mentions three stages of how a non-heterosexual man could grow. Stage 1: drowning in shame and denying. Stage 2: self acceptance that encompasses the possibility of love. Stage 3: live towards authenticity. The two lecture-performances presented here respond to Stage 1 and Stage 2 under the titles (Un)learn The intersectional shame and (Un)learn to LOVE, respectively.

Benedito Ferreira, Bestiary “Bestiário” (2020)

Password: bestiario

Bestiary presents a body that dances. By choosing only one part of the body – the butt – the camera shows an interest in minimal events permeated by enigmas. It is an image interested in provoking dissension, either through the adhesion to the sequence shot, through the use of cards with texts or even through the exploration of red occupying the entire frame. Thus, the video invites us to inhabit the existing world in a different way, with identity as a prerogative, as a temporary stabilization and a stubborn gesture.

Andy James, All in love is fair (2021)

All in love is fair closely resembles a mockumentary. It seeks to discover what fate was in store for the people that the artist would encounter in the middle of the night, in the smoking area of the club or the corners of a party when these spaces ceased to exist during the pandemic. It plays with the idea of ‘party people’, a sweeping notion which suggests that the group identity of a crowd having fun is an inherent formative identity of the individual. During the Pandemic, it felt as though these “creatures of the night” ceased to exist. What then came into play is a questioning of our own realities and the construction of illusion. In All in love is fair, the party ended, the lights came up, but the people did not take off their costumes and nor did they go home. Their identity is not that of the party, for that is simply the party’s identity. These characters broke out into nature, for they do not need the institution of the club to perform their continuously evolving identities. The work is satirical and surreal. It laughs at the idea that our identities are binary, it laughs at the ridiculousness of the situation we are in and it empathises with the bitter sense of loss that all of the party people, including myself, feel every night.