„dive into A reality“
Dive is a kiki house in the tradition of Ballroom, a queer afrodiasporic (especially black transwomen) subculture born in 1970s Harlem, New York. It was founded by dancer and choreographer Karin Cheng, and has since organised multiple Ballroom events and has collaborated with WIENWOCHE for Purple is burning, ZARA – Zivilcourage und Antirassismusarbeit, as well as the Diversity Ball.
For Kultursommer we would like to „dive into A reality“, a performance that merges ballroom culture with a cunty cyborg topic. Through performative works by house members we aim to embrace a queer futuristic aesthetic that overcomes the association of technology and oppression.
Cunty Cyborgs – Embracing queer technologies of the future.
From space exploration to super-intelligent computers, science fiction has offered a way for us to imagine our futures. We use it to imagine Utopias or Dystopias of how future technologies will affect our lives. In works like George Orwell’s ‚1984‘ or the Wachoskis’s ‚The Matrix‘, machines, robots and architectures of the future are often shown to govern citizens in rigid ways. Many other works have depicted technological environments as a sterile, hierarchical metaphor for oppression, with no room for intimacy, communication and expression. Futurist aesthetics of spaceships and laser weapons have often become seen as opposite of nature, artistic expression and community building.
In ‚A Cyborg Manifesto‘, the philosopher and biologist Donna Haraway imagines cyborgs not as humans turning into soulless machines, but as hybrids between nature, culture and machines. Haraway uses them to resolve these categories and to question essentialisms in our culture. As fluid beings full of feeling and communication, cyborgs are a metaphor for dissolving oppressive categories and judgements of gender, sex, class and artistic expression.
Working with science fiction themes as dancers and artists of the ballroom scene, we bring Haraway’s cyborgs to life: These machines have feelings, express themselves artistically as well as emotionally and bring visibility to the LGBTIQ+ communities of color that created the scene. Cyborgs that are fierce, cunty, shady and loving help us to imagine a new kind of future: A Utopia where queer expression is not at odds with an oppressive regime, but where technologies become a way for marginalized people to express themselves and build community. Following the footsteps of afro-futurist artists like the rapper Missy Elliott, we want to develop futuristic imageries that show the ballroom community not at odds with future technologies, but as a part of it.
So what will the performance actually look like?
The performance will be various short interdisciplinary pieces by different members of the house. Each piece will be about 5-10 minutes, and will contribute to the topic of voguing & cunty cyborgs. We will use lyrics, poems, music and dance to express our artistic talents.
If you want to know more about the ballroom culture, we suggest watching the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning or Marlon Bailey’s “Butch Queens Up in Pumps: Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit”.
To the ballroom community, serving cunt means to show off an unapologetic, queer femininity that subverts the patriarchal idea that movements and aesthetics deemed as feminine only serve cis-hetero male enjoyment. To the contrary, our flowing hair, long nails and sensual movements are for our own pleasure, and we want this to become part of the cultural imagination of the technological future.