Thank you all for applying to Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival (TQAF) 2020: What is Fear?
During our open call, we received an incredible array of submissions from all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Poland, Rwanda, Ukraine, among many others. In these difficult and complicated times, we want to thank you for bringing our community together and exploring what fear is to you.
None of us had thought that Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival’s 2020 theme “what is fear?” would be so synchronised with the global crisis we are all experiencing now. When considering last year’s effort to communicate with queer subjects around the world, we decided to host the 2020 edition of the festival online; which in retrospect, seems like a prophecy.
This imposed quarantine is a great opportunity to experience isolation and social distancing. At the same time, though off-putting to some, this is a crucial moment to redefine public space, not by prohibiting free movement but by encouraging diversity within it. If governments care about our health then public spaces should be made accessible to all.
In such turbulent times, social media and digital platforms are becoming the most important space there is, and fear is becoming ever-more widespread. However, cyberspace will continue to provide new opportunities for connection and art sharing.
On a social level, the queer community has always fought against viruses: patriarchy, homophobia, repression. We, queers, know death all too well: we cannot freely express ourselves in public, we ‘infect’ societal norms, and offend the ones who try to control our bodies. Queer isolation is not a recent phenomenon and grief is ingrained in our DNA. But there is still hope; our creativity is our immune system and our childhood our antibody.
It was Rainer Werner Fassbinder who claimed in 1974 that “Fear Eats Soul.” In his film, he predicted that if we stop being afraid about the cruelty of others, miracles can happen. It is time to eat fear back and become stronger until we win.