Queericulum Vitae at Femact: International Meeting on Feminisms and Activisms (psesentation in the workshop on "Queer activism, porno feminism, sexual work") - Barcelona - july 2006
QVzine (QV stands for Queericulum Vitae , our queer Curriculum Vitae, our queer biografias ), is a queer electronic fanzine, that deals with issues of gender and sexuality. It is a diy editorial project and we are an self- organised collective of 12 people.
We have published two issues of our electronic fanzine, both the issue is also on print, we have organised several "queer teas" which are open, public, thematic or non thematic opportunities of meeting and talking with people, that include screenings, games, discussions, tea and home made pastries. We produce, except for texts, videos, posters, presentations on topics such as the body, sexuality, desire. We have organised an all sexualities party, we have participated in discussions concerning sex work and sexuality, and we are active in lgbt and other political events, such as all the 3 athens pride marchs, etc.
What we've been dealing with lately is the issue of sexuality looked upon through the topic of sex work, public sexuality, queer sexualities, intimacies and politics imposed on sex. That's why we are particularly interested in the workshop on "Queer activism, porno feminism, sexual work".
In femact meeting we gave a presentation on a perspective of the topic, as elaborated until now within our group, since it is a discussion in progress. We also contribute d with material we have produced on sexual desire , such as an homoerotic film on desire, and other relevant stuff produced for the Queer Tea on the topic " Kavla ". The use of the greek word instead of an english equivalent is something that we claim, as it comes from our cultural background of language and experience. It could be translated as feeling horny, or hot, but these words don't really transmit the meaning of "kavla" as understood in our social context. That's why we have decided to keep the greek term.
Political and social affinities of our group
Most of the public actions that we do take place in autonomous, self organised social spaces in Athens, Greece. "Steki Metanaston" is an open, social space for activists and immigrants. It runs all year long, it is the organising space for the annual antiracist festival, it is a hosting place for various leftist and activist groups, running together with the Network for Social and Political Rights. Our second "venue" is the Autonomous Space, which has a more anti-authoritarian, autonomous and anarchist political background. Our group is in the process of establishing political affinities and communication with a variety of political groups, leftist, autonomous, anti-authoritarian, but also mainstream lgbt.
We base the analysis and criticism that we produce in our discourse on our experience and self-reflection as a collective process. We start from our personal positions as individuals, our stand-points, our theoretical and experiential backgrounds. We turn all these into our political tools in order to speak about the public and the private, the in and the out. We try to subvert the dominant discourses, not by denying them, but through creativity. We expose ourselves, our desires and the ways in which these desires are produced.
Invitation to "kavla"
qvzine.net invites you for Queer tea #3. *
* ΚΑΥΛΑ *
Kavla: this mystery, this policed mystery. Kavla: embodied, kavla: an organised sense. Kavla: personally silenced and kavla: political statement. Memory of kavla, the effort to write it down. Kavla is a body experience and a socialised act.
Kavla has no substance but we will try to put it on paper, in words, on photographs, on video.
Kavla, a monster that helps us resist.
Come with your theme. Without taboos. Kavla is already suppressed enough or even overestimated. Let us name it for once, how we meet it and how we understand it, with and without our guilts, within our fantasies, in our personal framework, in our own words.
We started by discussing and reflecting the personal possibilities of articulating a discourse on the topic. It was not easy, it took us some time to feel comfortable to do it, some of us were more ready than others.
We produced texts, but also posters, videos, we took clips from movies and presented them in connectedness to our experiences. We didn't know what we would come up with. It was very recreational.
We set out to the public toilets of Athens and filmed. Two cameras, a gay and a lesbian. Two different shots, two different perspectives, One connected to the Kavla of the tearooms, the other detached, observing, trying to find out what was it about that public space that could produce this kavla feeling to the gay friend. We kept the gay perspective. Everything was there for him: darkness, half-opened doors, sublime sounds, underground, sudden break ins, dirty talk written on the walls, phone numbers of possible indulgents of sexual pleasure. The video was projected at the dark bottom end of the stairs leading to an underground room used as a storage place and sometimes as a secondary kitchen, just next to the toilets of "Steki Metanaston".
Then there was another movie. Y. got hold of the camera this time. His aim to lick up the sensual body of a boy friend, as his gaze caresses it all along its lines and shapes and cavities. It's in private, in his house, in the kitchen and in the bedroom, with clothes and naked, standing and lying, talking and silent, pink and warm. That's what Y. says about it:
A DIY video of the way a gay sees his friend' A DIY video where I tried to show my friend's body as a field of desire. My glance and our intimate feelings, his desire to become a porno-star and our relationship. All this combined in a private game which becomes public. Our personal dialogue (Y and M) in front of the camera about the way we both see porn, with its limitations and fantasies. A strip-off happening through the camera. The video was taken in Y house on a Saturday afternoon and it was projected in a video installation with other DIY presentations in one of the Queer Teas the QV collective has organized. The Queer Tea of that day was devoted to "kavla" (a greek word meaning being horny).
The video was projected on a tv screen, just at the entrance of Steki Metanaston. The first exposure to the public entering the space was that of an homoerotic glance on a man's body. No chance of missing the point, right?
And then there were other stuff. To start with some childhood memories there was a part of a film "Mermaids" (starring Winona Raider and Cher) and a self-reflective text to go with. There was this scene of love at the clock tower of a church between Winona and the boy she fancies so much, and at the same time the almost drowning of her younger sister who she was supposed to look after, but leaves and goes fuck herself with that boy. A. chose that part of the film to talk about herself as a teenager. She identifies herself with Winona. She watches the film together with Ms. B. a friend of her mother. Romance and kavla are inscribed right there. Ms B. puts things back in place: "She deserved what she got, because she should be looking after her sister, not fucking!" Policing: kavla can cause tragedy, it can be disastrous. And what is the role of a young girl, anyway? The protection of others, not pleasure. Things are in place. And knowledge has found a moment in itself.
And another film and a text to go with. This time the film is summing up the text itself. It's a scene, a fantasy, how to carry away this kavla, this perpetual indulgence and yearning of a lover how to keep it in a piece of cloth, a dress, a kimono. The lover in "Empire of senses" takes the train to go find a lover she prostitutes herself with. Before leaving she has taken her lover's dress and gives him her own kimono. He runs after the train half dressed in her kimono, half naked. The train goes, she goes to the toilets of the train and takes his dress out of her bag and on her face and smells the smell of him and of love and whatever can be inside that cloth. A piece of fetish, a piece of cloth, the perpetual desire, the wetness, the non stop kavla. This policed kavla of the past, policed by boyfriends, it was toooo much. However, there was always an uncensored way to do it: masturbation scenes in the bathroom, naked bodies of female friends on the beach under the summer sun, intellectual kavla after lots of studying, fluids and unsmelt odors. That's what M.'s kavla is all about.
And then there was B.. That's what he tells about himself:
"This one is about the ways being horny is connected to fear. For example, fear of digging out a "natural" sexuality or male fear of erection's visibility in a straight male environment."
And Ag.: A series of pictures, sketches and drawings of toes, leather, female bodies, fingers, fetish, dolphins and turntables. That's how she describes it:
kavla: a smell, it all starts there, a finger, a smile, a look, one step, one sound, the sound, a small running insect, a street trash bin, one drop, 10% pulse increase, one touch, the first touch, second drop, 15% temperature increase, 20% vision decrease, the tile, left foot, this tile today, the sound everyday, 30% dizziness, a grasp, 10 drops, left thigh, 50% pant increase, an empty t-shirt, more drops, a flow, from lips to lips, 50 drops in the mouth, 5 drops on the lips, one drop on the tile, this tile today, the street everyday, 70% excissation, a wave, of everything, a song, its lyrics, 87% shiver, a blinking light, brisking sounds, a wet trouser, the smell again.
And X. who practices S/M: a collection of S/M pictures and his huge dildo the size of a stool to decorate this public space with something that comes straight from his queer bedroom and other people 's bedrooms, I guess.
And more texts by A.. Patches of memories in pink and blue. One about masturbation in the bathroom, an act of secrecy. Fear that her sexual fantasies could actually come true. Feelings of shame and guilt, a knowledge by acquaintance. And then another scene: a role play, she and a girlfriend playing the doctor game in the secrecy of the children's room. When she grew up it all become masturbation.
And L.: She wrote about a mother daughter talk in the car. The daughter asks on blow jobs: "Mama, do you do blow jobs to dad?" and mummy says: "Your dad doesn't like this kind of stuff. I only kiss it". A sexual act is inscribed as something you don't do to someone you love, blow jobs have nothing to do with real love, they are insulting. So L. waits for her romantic love and that love has nothing to do with her kavla, right?
M. wrote about her kavla today, everywhere with just everyone, and then a memory of it in a doctor role play, but when policing starts kavla is relieved through sports, and a dream: a full theater house, sex is taking place everywhere and she is the judge of all sex taking place.
I. goes back to his childhood, when he had an erection at the sight of a naked woman on tv. Parents are around. They gave him reassurance for his hard dick. "My hard dick was really proud!"
O. What are all these geometrical diagrams doing on this poster? Do they have something to do with all the ways to measure up somebody's mental and psychic sanity? And what's all this obsession with institutions, nuns' schools, and mental houses? Does it have to do with his situation in now, his trans experience with psychiatrists? "If i really confess what i fantasize about, i will certainly get myself a place in a psychiatric institution for good."
A performance! By K. At some moment, K. sat in a bar-stool wearing a military hat and started to read from a text he himself had written, like a kind of performance. In this script, he tried to shed some light on the question whether, how, why, and in what ways could an anarchist fancy cops. He used narration as his main tool and now and then he asked himself a series of questions, in an introspective manner. He related three different but interconnected stories involving himself in scenes including cops, based on situations he had experienced, enriched with imaginary elements.
The first story had to do with a thorough body search two cops performed on him and his boyfriend in the middle of an auto bank where they had stopped to have sex. The second story was about him getting beaten by cops in a demonstration and the way he conceived the pain and the bruises from the truncheons. Finally, the third story was about him getting arrested by cops in a public cruising area and about the way he was treated in the police station.
K. said that maybe he fancies cops because he is an anarchist and this, to an anarchist, should be a forbidden fantasy. And it is possible that cops make him horny, because he can use his kavla as a tool to revenge: "Why do cops beat gays whenever they can? It is because they feel sick even at the thought that they could be part of a sexual fantasy which involves other men. Cops cannot stand people who can create such images, even if it's only in their imagination. It is this image that they want to harm; the image that includes themselves. This is why I like to invoke such images and play with. They have the authority to beat me up and I have the authority to make imaginary incidents in my head with them being naked and blowing each other, and me blowing them both and them hating it, but they are so horny that they can't stop until they cum. And this is how I get my revenge. And this is why I give them the stare at demonstrations when others just insult them by calling names. In my fantasies I am the director, and also the script writer, the protagonist, and also the supernumerary and the audience.and can you imagine?. we all cum at the same time".
And then there was a game. Around a hundred people were there that day and they were all there out of big interest and curiosity on the topic. Some expected a formal presentation and discussion, some didn't know what to expect. We didn't want to do something one sided. We wanted it to be participatory. Our own exposure created the desire to do something collective. We spread out pieces of colored carton and we posed the question: What's kavla to you? Noone refused to take a piece of paper and write. So they all had something to say to expose about their own kavla! And they were more than willing to do it. We collected the papers and redistributed them. Everyone would read somebody else's kavla. There was plenty of positive energy, a lot of laughter, words that could not be spoken out loud, that brought some embarassment to the people's lips but it all turned out to so much relief at the end. It was a chanec to publicly articulate one's kavla and to relate to the stories of everybody else. It was clear to everyone the explosive effect of a collective act.
"Kavla is even greater when shared."
"The delay of the pick... the torturing delay"
"I am so tragically petit-bourgeois that i have left unfinished "the land of dead roads" by Borroughs, becasue i worried because the homosexual love scenes between men caused me kavla. I am thinking of giving it a second chance."
"Kavla is the thought before the act, the desire before the indulgence to act."
"Kavla is an addiction."
"My boyfriend has abig problem that my fantasies that bring me kavla have always to do with women!!! I keep fantasizing, though."
"My kavla sleeps somewhere else, and I sleep alone."
"I like women, masculine women, authoritarian women with cold gaze. Women that when we have sex the humiliate me and hurt me. Women I am proud to be their slave. I am a domicile girl."
"My eyes get shiny, my heartbeats increase, my pussy gets wet."
Kavla is when my friends talk about their boyfriends, to be able to talk about my girlfriend, too, and that's ok."
"The cold nights of wanting to pee all the time."
And then we had a party with lots of music and shots of an afrodisiac drink that we were offering. Some more fluids and chemistry to spill around with the fluids and chemic of our bodies.