Tag: queer

Ginema Growls

by on Sep.20, 2011

A couple of days ago, Joyelle McSweeney & Johannes Göransson started blogging about their experiences in the Tokyo Poetry Festival. They were particularly struck by the haiku performance artist Ginema ギネマ, who takes the traditional form of haiku and explodes it, performing in strange, new, often funny, often terrifying ways—turning it into dramatic performance art that screams out from the stage with a ragged voice.

There is a modern tradition of this kind of performance in Japan, although not in the haiku world, which tends to be dominated by people documenting small, quiet passings rather than powerful, dramatic sentiments. Many of Ginema’s poems are in modern, colloquial Japanese—not the stilted, restrained classical Japanese that one usually finds in haiku.

The kind of “modern tradition” I am thinking of has to do with the theater of experimental playwrights who started writing about the lowest classes, outcastes, and social misfits since the 1960s. There are several figures who were important in this movement, including Shūji Terayama 寺山修司, who is just beginning to be studied in the West, but the one that seems closest to Ginema’s sensibilities is Jūrō Kara 唐十郎, a writer whose characters scream from the stage in overly dramatic, exaggerated ways that can swing from the absurdist to the touchingly poignant within a few short moments. Kara’s plays are mangaesque performances, full of exaggerated voices, absurdity, and vibrant explorations of sexuality and gender that would humble even the mightiest of queer theorists.
(continue reading…)

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Jack Smith, Normal Love, and Hate will Make You Cry Video

by on Sep.14, 2010

I’m very moved by the video Aylin posted — Most moving to me is the connection between this work and Jack Smith’s _Normal Love_. I know that some consider it problematic to contextualize the work of (gay) (women) in terms of gay men, whose work is already given so much serious attention, relative to the work of women. But in this case, the subaltern Jack Smith certainly seems occultly present in this project. His _Normal Love_ also operates in Arcadian setting, a literalization of an ‘outsiderstatus’– the spaces in Normal Love seem to happen outside any kind of polis or state, though possibly adjacent to one. At the same time, the Arcadian space of ‘Normal Love’ (is it a Utopia? An afterlife? Or just a vacant stare?) seems to occupy a binary relationship with a single sublime figure– in _Normal Love_ it’s Mario Montez as the Mermaid, in this video it’s the dyke figure decked in flowers who seems to play a completely uncool role of deity. I realize that these tropes are all played semi-ironically by the video– they are both a critique of Swedish national culture, with its sentimentalization of rurality and nudity, and a redeployment of these images in a way that makes them radioactive (the nudes in Karl Larsson might be surprised to find this dyke-goddess weighing her brick, or they might grab a brick.) The reworking of the disco tune/gay anthem also brings gay male culture into the project of aggressive counterprogramming entailed in this video. I’m all for this alternate ‘Alliance’.

[For video see post below.]

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