Julian Fricker: Islands of Queer Longing. (A solo danced performance (lecture) on opening up possibilities of queer world-making)

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final Kitchen presentations. Each participant addresses one question. 

Here you will find the documentation of Julian Fricker's presentation as filmed by Baha Görkem Yalım. The written report is by Bethany Crawford and it includes a summary of the comments by esteemed guest respondents.

Queer Longin (A solo danced performance (lecture) on opening up possibilities of queer world-making)

Julian's question: When does longing become belonging?

Julian's introduction: Queer Longing investigates the interconnectedness of queer subjects and how they navigate through the performance of longing beyond the present, striving for worlds full of hope and possibilities. The work aims to detect the “cracks” in the hetero- and homonormative present of various crises by enacting new queer lifeworlds that serve as survival strategies that move beyond the dancefloor.

Bethany's report: The celebrative performance of queer being and alternative cultures questions how these intimacies can be sustained during lockdown and reflects on a practice of maintenance for cultures of empowered alterity. The performance subverts the space and time of its presentation, reminiscent of a nightclub, as dance music comes on across the speakers. The performer enters the space wearing an open-backed black negligee nightdress, moving into the central spotlight and dancing uninhibitedly, enjoying the movement and the music. The dancing is punctuated with recitals of theoretical and meditative texts, rich with queer vernacular and gestures related to longing, belonging and the polymorphic significance of these terminologies and realities. The performer utilizes various props in their celebration of queerness, bouncing provocatively on an exercise ball to the music, exploding a confetti cannon from under their legs and up by their butt, and a full latex head covering filled with vape smoke. Fricker concludes the performance in a black helmet with long tendrils and moving evocatively to the beat of heavy dance music, redolent of an other-worldly chimera of form, movement and temporality.

Adam Szymczyk answered Fricker’s question, ‘When does longing become belonging?’: probably never. The setup of the staging was interesting to watch, he said, as the artist and someone else tried to delineate an area for the performance. Suggesting the use of gaffer tape in the history of performance is a great and simple device for moving a three-dimensional object into marking territory, he said. He likened Frickers’ important demarcation of stage territory as semi-open to an emergency exit from this difficult situation or keeping all options open. Szymczyk enjoyed that the fourth wall was missing in this territory, which appears only temporarily – one that is to be left and returned to a couple of times, giving a good sense of disassociation between the two sides of the same coin inferred in the artist’s question.

Ana Teixeira Pinto referred to Douglas Crimp, and how this presentation made her think of how we will understand the pandemic better through its cultural representations. She also thought it pointed to the question of who’s lives get to be lived, especially in this context in which it is the nuclear heteronormative family. Fricker highlighted that if you’re a couple with children your life is the same in preservation of intimacy and relationally. If you’re not part of this template then your sense of intimacy, belonging, connection, social and interpersonal relationships are just completely obliterated and you don’t have any means to have an effective life. She questioned if this is what Fricker was responding to. The headgear, for Texeira Pinto, was an interesting mix of H.P. Lovecraft’s is representation of people with more reactionary positions versus Octavia E. Butler’s more queer response.

Amit Rai liked the pauses because that made him think about why he wanted to move, which helped him understand the driving and pounding music of the dance floor, often allied with analyses of queer desire. He thought about the wonderful question Gilles Deleuze extracts from Friedrich Nietzsche on whether it’s desire or longing. The artist’s affirmation of feeling alive in the movement was inspiring to Rai, who referenced Fricker’s line: ‘there’s only one ethical consumption and it’s eating ass.’ In terms of thinking about what happens to the body in capital, he thought the performance was fantastic in addressing the problems posed by queer desire as troubling life.

Julian Fricker's Queer Longing was presented at Radio Kootwijk.

Find the overview of all 35 AEROPONIC ACTS 2020 here: BEND IT!