Fool’s Journey – Wheel Of Fortune

Last September Jane asked me to draw a tarot card to accompany one of her wonderful poems for a book full of poetry and cards. I felt quite honored. The card was the Wheel Of Fortune and the poem one, I had previously translated for her for an event.

This is my translation of the poem:

EINE WARME SCHLAFZIMMERTÜR
Dein Haus ist ein Feuer ist eine alte Freundin die nicht oft anruft
aber deine Nummer auswendig kennt. Sie trägt
das Perfume von dem du sagtest es sei zu viel,
was sie auch ist. Sie wartet nicht auf deinen Anruf.
Das Feuer in deinem Haus schaut vorbei in der Woche, in der du deine Arbeiten abgeben sollst. Lachend, ein Lachen wie Klingeln, legt dein Hausfeuer
die Füße hoch auf deinem Küchentisch, verkohlte Halbmonde
auf ihren Solen. Du suchst nach Untersetzern, sagst deinem Hausfeuer,
es sei grad nicht die beste Zeit. Das Glas Wasser was du anbietest ist das letzte
Fuck You. Dein Hausfeuer senkt ihre Augen wie Leitern
und alle Kindern entkommen über die Fenster. Du sagst
dir selbst du seist glücklich als die Tür zuschlägt.
Du trinkst jetzt selbst das Wasser. Trotzdem, den nächsten Monat
ertappst du dich dabei nach dem Knistern der Statik zu lauschen,
die Rückhand an der Schlafzimmertür, um zu prüfen ob sie warm ist.
Es ist ein Jahr her und du bist auf dem Weg in die Stadt
als du um die Ecke biegst und sie siehst, wie die Freundin
aus dem Fenster im sechsten Stock lehnt. Sie riecht noch genau wie damals –
und du erinnerst dich an die schönen Momente, als sie dir
ihre Hand reichte, dir den Sprung ins tiefe Cabrio versprach,
lass uns in die Berge fahren. Wir lassen alles zurück und hauen ab.
Du warst noch nicht bereit aber jetzt klingt es verlockend.
Trotzdem, du schaust auf zu ihr, die sich um das Fenster einer
anderen windet. Sie ist nicht mehr deins; sie ist nur
eine Ansammlung von Brennbarem und Sauerstoff, dass du
treffen könntest wenn die Sterne es wollten. Du verlässt das Hausfeuer
ohne ihre Auswirkung zu sehen. Kaufst ein Ticket
für ein ganz neues Land, nur weg. Als du fliegst,
über die Schweiz, die Städte sehen aus wie Glut in der Nacht.

Jane Flett, publisher & poet about Fool’s Journey:

Fool’s Journey is a collection of 22 poems based on the Major Arcana of tarot, with 22 hand-designed cards based partly on my poem and partly on the corresponding Rider-Waite-Smith design.

The artists are from all different kinds of practices – tattoo artists, zine makers, ceramicists, costume designers, printmakers, musicians, directors, board game designers, writers, and a few professional illustrators too. Most are women and many are queer. The work they have created is full of glorious things and grotesque things, delicious oozing bodies, wolves and sunbeams and skeletons and UFOs.

As for me, I’m a weird, queer, witchy poet who likes to write about making out, made-up science, teeth marks and spells. These poems were mainly written at Can Serrat residency in the Montserrat mountain range. My work has been anthologised in the Best British Poetry, commissioned for BBC Radio, and translated into Polish, Croatian and Japanese. I’m also the author of Quick, to the Hothouse (dancing girl press) and Mashnotes (pitymilk press).

Wheel Of Fortune tarot card front and back.
my contribution

Photo background by Matthew Smith on Unsplash, collage and table by me.

Workshop: Queer Art?

What can art/culture/activism do for the queer community and vice versa? And how can we do it best?

Workshop: Queer Art?

POCs*, Queers* and other people facing oppression have always been on the forefront of cultural movements. Oppression produces resistance and the oppressed have to be creative to find ways to survive. This creativity often results in brilliance, but due to a lack of resources, networks and a public voice, it can often only be acknowledged after it has been appropriated by members of the mainstream society.

How can we break this circle?

Do we want to break this circle?

Where would a shift in power relations actually leave us?

Seeing the turn that world politics is taking, we, the people who’ve been working towards and hoping for more equality for so long, need to stand united and strong. But how can we do that in a way that uplifts and includes ALL people? How can we decolonize art, culture, creative spaces as well as queer communities and society in general? How to deal with, accept and let go of appropriation? How to deal with anger, frustration, misunderstandings, hate and ignorance? And how can we use and acknowledge these experiences in our creative forms of expression and resistance?

TQU (www.transnational-queer-underground.net) has been a platform for queer art and activism since 2009 and wants to facilitate more discussion around these topics. As a first step #TheGalleryProject was initiated in 2016 and over 40 artists from four continents have shared their artwork on TQU as a result. Some of the artworks were also shown in five exhibitions in Europe over the following two years

In this workshop, Verena, the founder of TQU and #TheGalleryProject will introduce you to the history of queer resistance and art and we will then creatively explore these topics, our own experiences and find out how we can change things ourselves.

Please register through Transnational Queer Underground’s website.

Workshop: Queer Art?

Date: 11.5.2019 – 14h
At:  FAQ Laden: Antisexistischer Infoladen Neukölln, Jonasstraße 40, 12053 Berlin, Germany
wheelchair accessible
donations welcome

Cover Photo by unsplash-logoSean Lim

TQU Short Film Night: Inbetween

Last year, after successfully putting on five exhibitions for #TheGalleryProject, I decided that TQU was grown up enough to start hosting a monthly event in Berlin. I talked to the lovely people of FAQ Infoladen and they kindly agreed to let TQU join their collective.

As part of the collective we are now able to host events at FAQ, which has been super fun so far. The event series is called TQU-Tresen and events usually take place on the last Friday of the month. The very first event was a talk with Rurru Mipanocha, who took us on a journey to meet her wonderfully drawn creatures that build a bridge between pre-colombian traditions and today’s queer feminist perspectives. We also hosted a short film night in October with films made by people that had already participated in other TQU projects.

I liked the idea of the Short Film Nights quite a bit, because it is a very effective way to juxtapose different views and realities of queerness, which is something that is the drive for all TQU events and the website in general.

Very much in the spirit of: our differences are what make us stronger as a community, because through our different lived experience we can create a possibility for exchange, while still touching common ground through the familiarities that connects us.

So I sent out a call for short films and to my surprise we received more than 700 submissions. It was so hard to pick films to show and very sad for a lot of films that I really would have liked to screen, but that didn’t quite fit in any of the nights.

All together we will have five Short Film Nights this year, one, with the title Happy Endings, took place in February already, and the next film night coming up in April will screen films around the topic of Inbetween.

Visit Transnational Queer Underground to see the programme.

TQU Short Film Night: Inbetween

TQU Tresen: 26.4.2019 & every last Friday of the month
At:  FAQ Laden: Antisexistischer Infoladen Neukölln, Jonasstraße 40, 12053 Berlin, Germany
From: 7pm to midnight
smoke free during the screening
wheelchair accessible
donations welcome

Cover photo by unsplash-logoKT

Talk: Identity in Germany

A discussion/conversation under the theme of unwrapping German identity at NY University Berlin. Three speakers are invited to talk about their own experience and expertise on different aspects on German identity. Topics likely to be discussed are:

  1. Who are you and what are your interests/background in relation to identity in Germany?
  2. What is Transnational Queer Underground? What are its central/core values?
  3.  How has LGBTQ+ identity evolved in Germany over the years? What is the current status of the community in respect to societal perception?
  4.  Berlin is often seen as a progressive haven for the LGBTQ community. Is this truly the case, and if so, how is the situation different in the rest of Germany? 
  5. How has the current rise in right-wing rhetoric and protectionism impacted the state of the LGBTQ community in Germany? Are they in a more vulnerable position today than before? 
  6. How is gender and gender fluidity perceived here? Do things such as German language having only 2 gender articles (er/sie) impact gender identity and expression? To what extent?
  7. What does the intersection between sexuality and race in Germany look like? How do migrants and people of colour struggle with different notions of gender identity, and how, if at all, has the recent rise in migration to Germany impacted the gender movements?
  8. How does art combine with the gender identity scene? What has been the role and impact of the art scene in better cultivating a base for gender identity? 

Date: 18.4.2019
At:  New York University Berlin

Cover picture by unsplash-logoNoah Buscher

Workshop: Queer Art?

What can art/culture/activism do for the queer community and vice versa? And how can we do it best?

Workshop: Queer Art?

POCs*, Queers* and other people facing oppression have always been on the forefront of cultural movements. Oppression produces resistance and the oppressed have to be creative to find ways to survive. This creativity often results in brilliance, but due to a lack of resources, networks and a public voice, it can often only be acknowledged after it has been appropriated by members of the mainstream society.

How can we break this circle?

Do we want to break this circle?

Where would a shift in power relations actually leave us?

Seeing the turn that world politics is taking, we, the people who’ve been working towards and hoping for more equality for so long, need to stand united and strong. But how can we do that in a way that uplifts and includes ALL people? How can we decolonize art, culture, creative spaces as well as queer communities and society in general? How to deal with, accept and let go of appropriation? How to deal with anger, frustration, misunderstandings, hate and ignorance? And how can we use and acknowledge these experiences in our creative forms of expression and resistance?

TQU (www.transnational-queer-underground.net) has been a platform for queer art and activism since 2009 and wants to facilitate more discussion around these topics. As a first step #TheGalleryProject was initiated in 2016 and over 40 artists from four continents have shared their artwork on TQU as a result. Some of the artworks were also shown in five exhibitions in Europe over the following two years

In this workshop, Verena, the founder of TQU and #TheGalleryProject will introduce you to the history of queer resistance and art and we will then creatively explore these topics, our own experiences and find out how we can change things ourselves.

Workshop: Queer Art?

At:  ArtGora Forum Riga ◼︎ 10.-12.04.2019

Cover Photo by unsplash-logoSean Lim

Anahit Sin Amor


Title: Anahit Sin Amor //

What? Final Girls Berlin – a new film festival for women in horror needed a website with a blog and a shop.

From the website:

I was born in Belgrade, Serbia to a Czech mother and a Serbian father, but later moved around, living in the US and Prague, Czech Republic for a while, before anchoring myself for a good while in the UK. The first place I felt truly settled and at home, which in many ways it still is, was in London, though since 2007 I have been based in Berlin. I feel all of the places that I lived in and my family background play an important role in my personal narrative and I think all the languages that I speak have an impact on my storytelling

Though I believe that we are a sum of all our experiences as well as experiences we carry in our genes I believe that we are the architects of our own success and I am interested in overcoming perceived limitations, be it physical or psychological. I also believe in challenging social prejudice and the unlikely characters’ journey to success.
What I mostly write about is the human condition and things that I observe around me, just the same as the photographs that I take, trying to capture the beauty of the ordinary.

Visit Anahit Sin Amor to see the website.

Can I draw something for you?

In the last month I’ve probably made more drawings than in the last ten years together. I didn’t realize how much I missed drawing and I would love to spend more time doing it.

Can you help me? Do you need illustrations? Or know someone who does?

Send them my way. My dream would be to illustrate childrens books or stories, but I’m really open to many different things.

I really enjoy the design and layout work I do on the computer, but my brain, hands and eyes would be super happy to get more excersice away from the screen.

If you like what you see here – tell a friend or propose a project!

Totally open to drawing specific animals for friends and family for christmas or whatever else you can come up with!


Kiko Berlin


Title: Kiko Berlin //

What? Kiko Berlin – ist ein Kinderbetreuungs-Kollektiv, dass sich in Berlin gegründet hat. Sie brauchten eine Webseite um ihre Arbeit vorzustellen und Spenden zu sammeln.

From the website:

Wir sind ein Kinderbetreuungs-Kollektiv in Berlin, das die Teilnahme von Bezugsmenschen, insbesondere von Müttern*, an der politischen Arbeit rund um Rassismus und sozio-ökonomische Gerechtigkeit unterstützt. Wir bieten kostenlose Kinderbetreuung während Plenums, Konferenzen,  und Tagungen an.  Kinderbetreuung soll keine Hürde für die Teilnahme an Aktivismus sein!

We are a childcare collective of volunteers committed to supporting the participation of caregivers, especially mothers*, in racial and economic justice work. We provide free childcare for meetings, conferences, retreats etc. Childcare shouldn’t be an obstacle for leading and participating in community organizing!

Hier kannst du die Webseite von Berlin Kiko besuchen.

Horses

There was a night where me and a couple of friends met in one of our houses and we all made collages and had some drinks. And a really lovely time.

The collages I made somehow ended up becoming a bit of a story, about patriarchy, horses and drugs. Or something else? That’s for you to find out.

You can see them all on Leopardskin & Limes.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash, collage and frame by me.

A Window To The World

Last year I got invited to show one of my photographs in the two year exhibition ‘A Window To The World’ at Altes Spital Viechtach and then Bahnhof Kötzting, two concert places in two little towns in the Southeast of Germany.

A Window To The World – The premise

We would like to present every month one photograph in the space for a duration of one month. This photo should represent the photographer or at least giving an indication into a photographer’s work. Little, but efficient and remarkable.

Thereby every shown image should be treated in the same way. Each image will be shown in the same frame with the same window mount. But due to that, it’s individuality will be highlighted.

The frame will be small. 30 cm x 30 cm, the picture in itself (depending if it is square or rectangle) 10 x 10 cm or 10 x 15 cm. Tiny so to say. But that is important, because it is just a window to the world and should not replace your way of showing your work.

The presentation will be on and offline. In the space, local newspaper, on the webpage, in the gallery space. First individually, after a while together with all the other ones.

Much later we will do a group show, with the collection of images. During that exhibition, the image will be sold in an auction. The money, if nothing else is said by the artist, will go to the artist.

And of course… the copyright always stays with the artist. We just need the permission for printing one image and for presenting it on – and offline for project related work.

You can find out more and see other participating photographs here.


Missmatch – taken in Kyrgyzstan 2003

I took this picture in Kyrgyzstan in 2003. I was there for a summer program organized by DAAD to learn about Kyrgyz language and culture. But instead of getting me excited about the Kyrgyz language, the program inspired me to start learning Russian. Instead of teaching us much about Kyrgyz culture it taught me much more about the structures and ways German and other international organizations work in small remote countries like Kyrgyzstan. 

The program was called Go East and its intention was to bring the East and West closer together. But did it really? The local students we met spoke German perfectly, without ever having been to Germany and with hardly any chances of ever being granted a visa to go to Germany. At least that is what the German vice ambassador told us. She was depressed, having to represent and advertise a country that doesn’t actually want the people it is advertising to.

All the foreigners living in Kyrgyzstan seemed to meet at the local German beerhall. And all money coming in seemed to be distributed amongst these foreigners and their businesses right there. Over a beer or many more, they made friends and business, instead of giving the money to the local communities or entrepreneurs it might have been intended for.

This picture was taken at a camp near Issyk-Kul, the biggest lake in Kyrgyzstan. It shows a group of German students doing yoga at the camp site, in front of the yurts we were sleeping in. The German company that organized the camp charged 5 Euros per person per night. The local family that cooked for us three times a day was given 5 Euros to feed a group of 20 people a whole week.

Why did I chose this picture? Because it is absurd. None of it fits and it tells a whole lot at the same time. People facing inward when they should be looking out. It’s a mismatch. 

We left the camp after that yoga session, paying off the family for their services and threatening to sue the program if they kept putting us in exploitative situations where Germans are the only ones that profit.

When I take pictures I like to point out these kinds of mismatches and absurdities. Showing the things that you least expect. Beauty in forms and contrasts. The inside facing the outside. The hidden finding its way out and similarities that the uninformed would not think possible.

Inktober 2018

I’ve been meaning to take up drawing again for a while now, but I find it difficult to allow myself the time for fun things sometimes.

I haven’t really been drawing since high school. A birthday card here and there, but I really wanted to gain a little more confidence. And also to play around with lines and structures.

So when my lovely friend and flatmate Tom Moore asked me to join #inktober, I figured that there’s no better time to start drawing on a more regular basis than now.

I decided to just do black and white, because I wanted to explore freedom and variety within limitations and also because otherwise I could just switch to something else when I find what I’m doing is too boring. This way it feels like in order to entertain myself and others I really need to work a bit harder and get out of my comfort zone to keep it interesting.

So here we go. If you want to – let me know what you think:


Two dogs travel through time

Welcome. This is the page for Tobby and Izabella and their journey through time and places. If you would like to see them travel to specific places or meet your favorite people, or would like a picture of you with one or both of them, you can leave a comment below.

Just to get their cute faces out there and to learn new things every week. I’m already excited where this is gonna take us!

This is a #photocollage project with my two dogs, Tobby and Izabella, in which they will visit important places of #history and #pop #culture. It’s mostly for fun and because I think they are cute.

But I would also like to try something other than all the typical instagram dogs (or their people) where everything looks white, or pastel and people need to have money and so much time to take them to important places or photograph them in beautiful settings.

We only need a computer.

But I want to give you the chance to get involved as well.

Tell me who your favorite artists is, a historical event from your region that people should know about or a landscape that needs saving and I’ll take them there. Just leave a comment below.

xxx – so excited!

Time and Ukraine

So today a little more text and no drawing. Today’s #inktober topic is #clock and it made me think of the way time is used and how it is so related to identiy in Ukraine. I’m gonna try and tell you a bit about it:

I was living in the far western part of Ukraine, right on the border to Hungary. The Hungarians, the Ukrainian freedom fighters and the Germans fought together in WWII against the Russians. So when they all lost the war, like Germany, the Hungarians had to give up part of their land. Germany’s east became part of Poland and Hungary’s east part of the Soviet Union.

One difference (amongst many) is that while Germans had to leave eastern Prussia when Germany lost the war, Hungarians stayed where they were and it was only the border that shifted. This is why there is still a large Hungarian minority in Ukraine. (Also interesting in this context: The people that fought on the Ukrainian and Hungarian side and survived got imprisoned after the war and sent into Stalin’s camps, which made the Russian the enemy and the Nazis the heroes unquestioned until this day. I will have to write more about that at a different time, but I see that as one of the root causes of the ongoing Nazi cult and extreme nationalism in Ukraine’s west these days…).

Now since the establishment of the Soviet Union I guess (?) the time zones change at the border between Hungary (CET) and Ukraine (EET). The Hungarian minority in Ukraine however still uses Hungarian time, Roma and non-Roma alike. They all listen to Hungarian radio and watch Hungarian TV. In the villages they have their own schools where they are taught in Hungarian and only learn Ukrainian as a second language quite late in, if at all. They have their own churches and church services in Hungarian and their lives are absolutely dominated by Hungarian time (magyar szerint), news and identity. Everyone who can afford it, has a Hungarian (European) passport.

Catching the train, going to an office, going to some schools however works in Ukrainian time, or Kiiyv time (Kiev szerint). So basically whenever you make an appointment to meet somebody outside of the village you have to make sure, that you’re both talking about the same time zone. It’s really common. Mostly every sentece that involves a time includes a Kiev szerint or Magyar szerint and you really do get used to it.

I find it really fascinating. Becuase it also continues outside of the village. The Hungarian Reformed Church of Transcarpathia uses Hungarian time for their church services and everything related to church, while everything around them is in Ukrainian time. So you basically sit inside of a church and it’s one hour earlier for you than for the Ukrainian person walking by the church.

And then there’s more. For a week I stayed with a family in Lupokovo, which is in the carpathian mountains not so close to any Europenan border at all. The people who live there are Ukrainians (Huzul) and they, to my surprise and unlike the Ukrainians in the more flat regions of Transcarpathia also live with what they call European time. Everything in that village; church, offices, schools, etc. operates under Ukrainian time, they watch Russian TV (completely differnt time zones) and still in their private life, when they make appointments or talk to each other they use European time. Just because they feel more like Europeans.

So there’s that. And here’s some chicken in Ukraine. They also do a really good job as alarm clocks.

Webdesign Kurse // Classes

Vier Termine – alles was du für deine eigene Webseite brauchst.

Du brauchst eine individuelle, kostengünstige Website, eine Online-Präsentation deiner künstlerischen Arbeit oder deines Geschäfts, die du selbst aktualisieren kannst?

Du hast ein bisschen Angst das alleine in Angriff zu nehmen?

Ich zeige dir, was möglich ist und gemeinsam konzipieren wir deine Webseite. Denn so schwer ist das gar nicht.

Was wir machen:

  • wenn du noch keine Domain hast, helfe ich dir eine zu registrieren
  • wir installieren WordPress und ich helfe dir bei der Auswahl eines Themes, mit dem du dann weiter arbeitest
  • Aufbau einer Navigationsstruktur, Vorbereiten und Einfügen von Inhalten
  • responsives Design (Smartphone/Tablet)
  • Anpassung von Farben und Schriften; Einbau von PlugIns
  • Publikation
  • Einführung in die Suchmaschinenoptimierung


Was du davon hast:

  • eine moderne Webseite, die du selbstsicher nach Bedarf weiterentwickeln kannst
  • Kenntnis der Funktionsweise von Webtechnologien
  • Grundkenntnisse in Aufbau und Struktur von Webseiten
  • grundlegende Fähigkeit, die eigene Website inhaltlich und strukturell zu verwalten


Aufbau:

  • Kleine Gruppe von mindestens zwei, höchstens drei Teilnehmer_innen mit individueller Terminabsprache (bring a friend!)
  • 4 Termine, jeweils 2 Stunden
  • Hausaufgaben und Unterstützung zwischendurch
  • Individuelle, praktische Arbeit am Computer

Kosten:

  • Frauen, Queers und alle dazwischen und drumrum: € 400,00
  • Cis-Männer zahlen 20% mehr wegen Lohnausgleich und so

Wenn du in diesem Jahr einen Kurs buchst, gibt es eine Stunde individuelle Beratung als Angebot kostenlos dazu, die jederzeit nach dem Kurs wahrgenommen werden kann.

TQU: Shifting Traditions


Topic: Shifting Traditions – Traditions in Transition.

What? TQU accepts fictional and biographical work. Submissions can be written, drawn, photo essays, made into a film, a song, or an installation.

Deadline: July 31st, 2019.

From the website:

You do not live in the same environment that you were born into. Your surroundings have changed, your body has changed, the way you are perceived, the way you are treated, the way you perceive and treat yourself is subject to constant change.

Whether you’ve stayed in the same place, but the political system, and family relations, or the climate changed around you, or whether you live with the memory of a place or situation you have left a long time ago or just yesterday – there are certain aspects of past and present within you or shared with the people around you that come together in harmony, struggle, or somehow don’t come together at all. They are traditions in transition.

Shifting Traditions

FOR OUR NEW CALL WE WANT TO EXPLORE MOMENTS AND PLACES WHERE THESE SHIFTS IN TRADITIONS TAKE PLACE AND HOW WE DEAL WITH THEM. WE’RE ASKING QUESTIONS LIKE:

  • How and why do you hold on to certain traditions and cultural aspects and disregard others?
  • What is dear to you and why?
  • How do you re-appropriate, mix- and match?
  • (How) do you experience power structures affecting this?
  • Are there certain topics or rituals that you feel you can’t question at all?
  • Are there certain things that are not there anymore but you wish would come back?

We accept fictional and biographical work. Submissions can be written, drawn, photo essays, made into a film, song, or installation. Please get in touch if you have a certain idea, but are not sure if it fits the topic or if the form will work.

Visit Transnational Queer Underground to submit.

The new shelter in Uzhhorod

After six years I went to Ukraine again last week. I will write more about that whole trip later. Over the years I brought two beautiful dogs from Ukraine, Izabella who is six years old now and sleeping next to me as I type this and Buddha, who had been with me for twelve years.

The dogs and cats used to have it pretty bad in Ukraine, they were either kept as living alarm systems in the yard or just left on the street. While the ones that founded their own street gangs seemed quite happy and there were always some grandmothers feeding them too, there was lots of puppies just dumped in trash cans and no where to take them.

So I was excited to hear that the first dog and cat shelter opened in Uzhhorod a couple of years ago. They are called Barbos and you can find them on Facebook and they have a really lovely website too.

Barbos is looking to get in touch with other animal shelters in Europe and beyond to either apply for funding together (with Slowakia or Hungary) or to just share experiences and best practices.

contact Barbos Ukraine

And they are doing amazing work. The whole shelter is run by volunteers, most of them young monthers, many also work in other jobs. Natalia, who I know from our common volunteering at summer camps for Roma children in Uzhhorod is one of those volunteers. She’s an English teacher by profession and in her free time organizes English speaking practice clubs for children in Uzhhorod donating the participation fee to support the shelter. She also goes to schools to tell them about the shelter and to talk about animals and they do a lot of work on public events.

She had a lot of very smart things to say that I can’t all share here, but one point she made really stuck with me. She was talking about the difficulty of getting volunteers involved and that they are looking at other organizations that have a lot of volunteers and get a lot of donations to see which of their tactics they can implement for Barbos.

She told me that it was very interesting to see how those people who are already volunteering for one organization go all out and also support others. At said public events they are the first ones that make donations for other organizations and some of the bigger organizations also share their collected donations with them. If you have a heart that’s open, it can beat for many causes.

So if you’re heart beats for cats and dogs please get in touch with them and support their great work! Or go and volunteer at a shelter near you. Or adopt a pet if you have the space and time. 🐥 🐈 🦔 🐌

PS: One of the dogs I got to meet here had been adopted by a nice family a couple of weeks ago. They took him home to a village quite far away from the shelter. That same night the shelter received a call by the new owners, that told them that the dog had run away from their house. For two days and nights they searched for him everywhere, until he finally stood in front of the shelter again.

He lives there now.

Faces of Pride


Title: Faces of Pride //

What? Layout for a magazine of interviews with organizers of Pride festivals around the world.

Happy (critical) Pride 2018 everyone!


For the summer months most of our social media feeds are full of posts about Pride. It’s Pride Month, and for a lot of people, that’s great!

I’ve seen so many happy people celebrating, some posting about their personal and collective achievements due to their respective Pride parades, parades that took place for the very first time this year and of course also those that got cancelled and where people got arrested for organizing or participating in Pride parades. Most news were positive. These posts all came from friends and people I’ve connected with through mutual activism; they live all over the world and do amazing work.

On the other hand, almost all of my friends and contacts from Germany and the US only post critically about Pride: the rainbow flag not being inclusive, the selling-out of Pride, the racism, the anti-semitism, the pinkwashing and so much more. I love all of these people and value their opinions equally. So sometimes I find it hard to position myself between these two poles, both of which I understand and agree with.

Last year, I went to the Pride parades in Sofia and Montenegro and saw firsthand what the Pride meant to people. I saw how important and what a huge step it was to have police support, to be allowed to march and to have your safety protected. I also know what it means for people to have businesses publicly support you in places where most families would not accept you if you came out. I feel incredibly lucky that I had a chance to learn about this and to meet so many lovely people when I was invited to show TQU’s #TheGalleryProject in both of these places.

Until then, I never cared much about Pride parades and was definitely on the criticizing end. My experiences with Pride parades in Germany made me uncomfortable. They were dominated by white gay men, a party without much political course and the companies and politicians on the floats celebrating Pride weren’t doing anything for the rights of the LGBTQI community the rest of the year. It was never a place where I saw my struggles represented or felt safe or even welcome.

So I wanted to explore these different pictures that I had of Pride and I wanted to do this in a way that anyone else interested could profit from it too. And I wanted to conduct it in a way that would highlight the people behind the Prides, the people that put hours of work, if not their whole lives into making these events happen, but are hardly ever seen or recognized by the participants.

You can find #FacesOfPride on Instagram and Twitter and you can read the full interviews on TQU’S website. Faces of Pride is made up of a lot of extraordinary people making the most amazing things happen. I cried many times reading their wise and kind words, and feel humbled that they answered my questions.

I’m very glad to present to you this little zine full of hope, full of love and strength, full of power and the will to make a difference.

As for myself, I will keep criticizing mainstream prides for their hypocrisy, racism, anti-semitism, pinkwashing, capitalist exclusion, etc. wherever necessary while at the same time supporting all of those for whom Pride is an amazing tool to strengthen their rights and visibility, and a moment of relief in hard times. I encourage you to do the same, so that we can all be proud together.

Love and strength and solidarity to all of you,
Verena, founder of TQU

download zine

S_he’s Amazing!

I participated in this lovely project. S_he’s Amazing usually organizes concerts here in Berlin, but they also just put out their very first zine! And I got to contribute with a picture of my two favorite dogs.

Here’s what Dana, the publisher, has to say:

Yeah, it’s done!! This might be one of the nicest zines ever – a zine full of stuff about the little good things! It’s 60 pages packed with love letters, thank you notes, submissions about inspirational people, amazing things, lovely situations or just awesomeness in general. Thanks to the 27 (!) people who took part, it is super nice to have you in the zine!

The cover is a two color Riso print and the other pages are b/w. German and English submissions. It costs 3-4 Euro and you can get the zine at our next shows or send us an email! We will check other places to sell very soon and will post news on our page.

And as the topic of the zine is inexhaustible, there will be another issue! Feel free to send in your submission, we are happy to hear from you:

https://www.facebook.com/events/296199040947609/

Content of issue I:

– NinaZina: Team Dresch is amazing
– Ambika Thompson: Viv Albertine
– Eve: the night kelley deal of the breeders talked to me / Musikhörparty / Danksagung Make Music Not Love
– Genever
Verena Spilker: Dogs are amazing
– Fee: You flower, you feast
– durbahn: Wünsche in Sachen Mobilitäten / der Wärmflaschen HACK
– Isabel: “I hate everybody” – oder warum ich Daria Morgendorffer liebe
– Tom Moore: Two Song Comics
– Von L. für N.: Ein Auszug aus einem Liebesbrief
– Lexi: Östro430
– e: Buttercreme
– Constanze Grabowski: picturesque pizza
– Finn
– Sam Meyer: cuddling naked
– Ruxandra C: sisters & stabilopozi
– Lea Matika: Kinder+Hunde+
– Sara Neidorf
– Navina
– René
– Uli: Wenn man sich schon Illusionen macht
– Mira de Gouges: Bruch
– nina prader // ladylibertypress: Meine Bücher / Mama said
– Sorm
– Simo von Queer Trash Distro: My sibling is amazing
– t.: dear a, this is a loveletter
– dana: the bus to costa caparica / diana ross

Photo background by Erika Lanpher on Unsplash, collage and frame by me.

Impulse zu Vielfalt


Title: Impulse zu Vielfalt //

What? Logo-Design und Layout für die Reihe ‘Impulse zu Vielfalt’ von Deutsch Plus.

Die »Impulse zu Vielfalt« aus Praxis und Wissenschaft beschäftigen sich mit aktuellen Fragestellungen diversitätsorientierter Organisationsentwicklung und geben Verantwortlichen konkrete Handlungsempfehlungen an die Hand.

Venice 2018

I’ve never been to Venice. Or much to Italy at all. When I was 16 we had a school trip to Rome, but that’s a very long time ago.

Venice is super pretty. Here are some impressions:

Sexual Harassment

Cards against (sexual) harassment


Topic: CA(S)H – Cards against Sexual Harassment.

What? Drawings / Illustrations.

Deadline: open

From the website:

Have you ever experienced street harassment?
Do you dread the warmer times of the year, because people comment on your body all the time?
What are the situations that you find most annoying?
Do you sometimes want to intervene in situations that you find yourself in, but can’t find the right words/ don’t know what to do?

It can be hard to find a verbal comeback to catcalling or other forms of street harassment. Handing someone a card can be a good way to intervene, to break up the situation and slightly confuse the aggressor; you regain power, without having to stick around and give an explanation.

What are we looking for?
Street harassment targets all kinds of people and bodies. The idea is to create a variety of cards and show different experiences and answers to them. By making them available for download, everyone can find something that speaks to them and their situation.

The cards don’t have to be about sexual harassment. A lot of the time people get harassed because of their skin color, belonging to a minority or basically any reason you can think of. Every experience is valid and worth addressing. Harassment says so much more about the aggressor than it says about the person being harassed.

We would also like to encourage people to submit cards in different languages or to just draw a picture that can be easily understood regardless of language. Make sure that the resolution of submitted cards is high enough so that they can also be printed as posters.

Maybe you want to offer to translate a card into a different language? Please get in touch for that too.

Visit Transnational Queer Underground to submit.

Sieggessäule: Stirn Bieten

“Ich habe mich erniedrigt und hilflos geführt”, erzählt die Aktivistin Verena Spilker, als sie, eine lesbische Frau, auf der Straße mal wieder von einem cis Heteromann sexuell belästigt wurde.
“Ich habe ziemlich große Brüste, was im Sommer zu vielen unangenehmen Kommentaren und Blicken führt. Obwohl ich das schon seit Jahren erlebe,…”

#TheGalleryProject N°5

When? 25.03. – 06.04.18 – open every day from 12pm to 7pm.
Where? ReTramp, Reuterstrasse 62, 12047 Berlin
What else? There will also be workshops and some special events.

Curated by Verena Spilker

Click on the image above or here to download or view the catalog of the exhibition as a pdf.

order print catalog for € 1,00

THE EXHIBITION

The exhibition in Berlin took place at a gallery that we rented for the event. Due to the fact that we couldn’t sell any of the artworks, because the exhibition is still traveling on, we made the money for the rent by giving away patches, the catalog, drinks and other things for a donation.

There were three events with concerts/performances and two workshops, which all had a really good turnout and were a lot of fun.

EVENTS

From the opening, March 24th, 2018. We Are Only Made Of Snow live.

From the Easter Brunch, April 1st, 2018. Melanie Menard and Ignatz Höch live.

From the finissage, April 6th, 2018. Nansea live.

more about the events
more about the workshops

SOME IMPRESSIONS

Photos of the exhibition by Jason Harrell.

47 Künstler_innen aus 27 Ländern stellen für zwei Wochen in der ReTramp Galerie in Neukölln aus

Für zwei Wochen werden ab dem 24.03.2018 Zeichnungen, Drucke, Fotografien, Comics, Collagen und Installationen von 47 queeren Künstler_innen aus 27 Ländern zu sehen sein.

Rurru Mipanochia zeichnet zauberhaft: Ihre auf den ersten Blick naiv und niedlich anmutenden Figuren offenbaren bei genauerer Betrachtung Einblicke in die vorkoloniale Geschlechterwelt Mexikos. Tim und Candra setzen sich in ihren fast unheimlich wirkenden dreifarbigen Fotos mit den Einschränkungen und Wünschen einer Cis- und einer Transfrau in Indonesien auseinander.
Ihar Paulaus Fotos ‚Flower Scars‘ zeigen Intimität und zaghafte Schönheit – sie setzen den menschlichen Körper und natürliche Muster miteinander in Beziehung. In seinen Comics bringt Umba aus St. Petersburg auf humoristische Weise Szenen aus dem Alltag eines Transmannes zum Ausdruck. Giegold & Weiß aus Berlin ermächtigen uns mit ihrer Installation ‚Lachanschlag‘, gegen die unermüdliche Diskrimierung in Institutionen und anderen Einrichtungen anzulachen.

Alle Künstler_innern.

Die Ausstellung #TheGalleryProject lädt Sie mit diesen und weiteren Kunstwerken zu einer Auseinandersetzung mit queeren Realitäten ein, deren besonderer Reiz in den unterschiedlichen Ansätzen und Erfahrungen liegt, auf denen die Arbeiten basieren. Wie im richtigen Leben wird deutlich, dass queer zu sein für jede Person etwas anderes bedeuten kann. Alle hier vertretenen Künstler_innen haben ihre eigenen Strategien entwickelt, mit ihren Alltagserfahrungen umzugehen und diese in ihrer Kunst (nicht) zu adressieren. Zu sehen sind Sexyness, Zerbrechlichkeit, Wut, Mut, Hoffnung, Abgründe, Kraft, Angst und Schönheit.

Transnational Queer Underground ist ein Verein in Gründung, der sich seit 2009 online mit künstlerischen Projekten und Texten für die Förderung und Vernetzung queerer Künstler_innen weltweit engagiert. #TheGalleryProject wurde im letzten Jahr bereits in Estland, Bulgarien, Montenegro und der Tschechischen Republik ausgestellt und wird nun erstmalig in Berlin gezeigt.

Der Besuch der Ausstellung ist kostenlos, die genauen Öffnungszeiten, sowie weitere Informationen zum Begleitprogramm finden Sie zeitnah hier.

Gruppen sind nach Anmeldung herzlich willkommen und können gegen Spende eine persönliche Führung erhalten.

Die Ausstellung ist auch auf Facebook.

TheGalleryProject

I started #TheGalleryProject in the summer of 2016. TQU already existed at this point, but it was mostly a website with some resources and information I had collected, some stories and interviews by me or some of my friends. While that is not a bad thing in itself, I had always hoped for TQU to grow into something bigger. But actually making that happen was quite scary. I was, and am still struggling to support myself financially. As a self-employed, self-taught web designer with a masters in humanities, jobs that pay well are rare. I didn’t have any money to put into this and I knew that I would have to continue to work different jobs to support myself while also working for TQU full time.

I wasn’t particularly good at asking other people for support, and even if I was planning on taking a personal risk, I wanted to make sure that nobody else would get hurt or lose anything in the process.

The idea I came up with was quite simple: I would create an online space for artists to exhibit their work, and everybody who participated would get their own little online gallery. The number of pictures was the only limitation. There was no risk for the participants, because they would show works they had made previously and they would get to decide over the copyrights themselves and in that way, remain in full control over their work. At the same time, it wouldn’t cost me any extra money, since the website already existed.

The tricky part was reaching people. With algorithms controlling what people can see on popular websites, simply posting something somewhere and talking to a few people wasn’t going to be enough. And while I do have quite a few artist friends, and it probably would have been easier to reach more people in Berlin, I didn’t want the project, or the website for that matter, to be too Berlin-centric. People here would find out and participate anyways. The hard question was: How can I reach people very far away and in places I really didn’t know anyone?

For a previous job at a startup for a queer social network, I had already done a lot of research on LGBTIQ magazines and organizations in different countries and knew how to reach them. But unfortunately, it’s hard to motivate people you don’t know to pass information on. It’s not even that easy when you do know the people personally. Believe me. (Such a big thanks to all of you who have been so supportive!)

So the progress of spreading the information really relied on people who immediately believed in the idea. One of these people was working for a commercial art newsletter in Russia, who contacted me and translated and distributed the call free of charge. Which is probably the reason why I got quite a few submissions from Russian speaking countries. What else did I do? I liked every LGBT facebook page, I joined every LGBTIQ facebook group and posted the call there. I contacted people on Couchsurfing. I cannot recount how many nights I stayed up reaching out to individuals, to zines, to universities, art institutions, really anywhere possible.

The call first got sent out in July or August of 2016, the deadline for submissions being the end of that same year. And the submissions I received were really amazing right from the start. So it seemed natural to suggest to take some of the artworks and bring them together in an actual physical exhibition.

Then, even a month or two before the deadline for submissions, some lovely people from Tallinn, Estonia invited me to host the first exhibition there in March 2017. So in January/February I talked to all the participating artists, picked out the pictures for the exhibition with them, ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce the exhibition, and designed a catalog to go along with the exhibition. It was a really exciting, if at times also quite stressful time that I would have never been able to handle so well without the support of all of my amazing friends, especially Anna and Tom.

After Tallinn, where the exhibition took place in a very lovely book shop (see more), #TheGalleryProject got invited to exhibit in Sofia and was part of Pride Art Week there. Ambassadors came to the opening, there was a queer poetry reading to accompany the event, and the main Pride party was hosted in the location of the exhibition and drew quite a large crowd (see it all).

In September, the exhibition went to Podgorica, Montenegro as part of the program around the Pride Parade. Since it took place in a hotel with a big conference space, a lot of people from government organizations and businesses who wouldn’t otherwise have gone to any queer events got to see the exhibition, as well as the participants of a conference held there for LGBTIQ organizations from the Western Balkans and Turkey.

The final exhibition of 2017 took place in Prague, in a lovely new gallery called Patra. It opened at the same time as the queer film festival Mezipatra, so it also got quite a bit of media coverage. The exhibition has been on display in Prague for over a month now, with lots of related events, film screenings, discussion groups, and receptions going on in the same space.

verena and anna in pragueWhile all of this was happening, I also launched three new projects on TQU and set up the legal structure in Germany so that from next year on TQU can legally work as a non-profit. I also almost gave up smoking and adopted a second dog. I went to a sauna for the first time in my life. I still work three other jobs. I don’t regret any of it.

It was such an amazing year. Of course, it was much more work then I had ever expected going in. And everything didn’t always work out the way that I would have expect it to. I had to practice a lot of breathing and letting go. But I learned so much, met so many amazing people, heard so many stories and got the chance to travel to wonderful places I had never been to before. I feel humbled that all of the artists trusted me with their artwork, and so grateful for this opportunity, challenge, and adventure.

Final Girls Berlin


Title: Final Girls Berlin //

What? Final Girls Berlin – a new film festival for women in horror needed a website with a blog and a shop.

From the website:

Final Girls Berlin Film Festival showcases horror cinema that’s directed, written, or produced by women. We are committed to creating space for female voices and visions, whether monstrous or heroic, in the horror genre. We are lashing against the tokenization of women as objects and beautified victims, and are working towards the primacy of women as subjects in horror.

Visit the Final Girls Berlin website to take a look.