Instigate Arts take over People’s History Museum for this month’s Radical Late, presenting a night of creative, queer activism and art with work from The Penthouse, Ms Kate Keeper curated by Greg Thorpe, German Techno Lezbians, Kiss Me Again, Eva Serration, Michelle Hannah and more.
Cutbacks are intersectional and as the LGBTQ+ community finds itself disproportionally affected, some of the most rad, creative queers respond with a night of creative activism. Because IF IT’S NOT A SITE OF RESISTANCE IT’S A SITE OF PROPAGANDA! You are invited to an evening, an event, an experience. It’s radical and it’s real, because the QUEERS ARE REVOLTING!
Here we speak to Greg Thorpe about his piece A Mile Of Black Paper
What is it about your practice that makes it Queer?
Gay assimilation destroys communities at the time they are needed the most. Why, when there is an epidemic of violence against LGBT people, should we be interested in mimicking a way of life that most of us barely endured growing up? Fear? Or self-preservation to separate us from those who are just too different? ‘Queer’ means camaraderie with those who think radically about their exclusion over gays who happen to look like me and vote Tory or won’t learn about non-binary people or spout monogamy and cheat. ‘Queer’ is a returned unopened invitation to the mainstream.
In the current political climate, and at at a time of austerity, why do you feel making Queer work is important?
We’ve been tricked into thinking we’ve made it but you only have to look at the grotesque shaming that accompanied the first wave of PREP or the absurd panic that liberal parents are forcing children to become trans to see the truth. The divine spectacle of queer persons living the best version of themselves actually nauseates much of the straight world. Queer work holds this mirror back to them and is a site of bonding for us.
“If it’s not a site of resistance it’s a site of propaganda.” How do you feel about that statement? And how do you feel your work connects to that idea?
Both ‘A mile of black paper’ and ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Get!’ ft into this ethos I hope. I read this statement as ‘If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem’, ‘If you’re not for us you’re against us’. ‘Black paper’ is made of audience generated sentiment about HIV/AIDS, its multiple voices are queer and angry and victorious. Kate Keeper is an amalgam of all of the cultural / political / official Gate Keepers that queer people have to face to try and access the straight world’s resources and live. Pretend you want to be cis to get healthcare, put up with homophobia or sleep rough, make art that changes minds and goes unrewarded. ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Get!’ is not just an epithet it is a subliminal Tory instruction to us all.