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Party at the End of Gender Normativity Artist Talk


[Recording of a Zoom video call with Shaunak Mahbubani, Vidisha Fadescha, Jonathan Soren Davidson, Khanya Kemami, Priyanka Paul, Mimi Mondal, Karan Kaul, and the Wienwoche Festival team. Thumbnails of everyone's video are arranged in a grid.]


[Shaunak dances playfully on screen]

Vidisha: We're live on Facebook now.

Vidisha: Where's the music?

Priyanka: Shaunak and Vidisha, you look so good!

[Vidisha laughs]

Jonathan: I know, you're so cute!

[Jonathan smiles and presses his face with his hands]

Vidisha: My eyes!

[Vidisha points to their eye makeup.]

Priyanka: All of you look so good! I think I'm the only one who didn't dress up.

Shaunak: Everybody looks so cute.

Vidisha: You look cute, Priyanka, come on.

[Priyanka sighs and rolls their eyes playfully]

Khanya: You look cute. I also didn't dress up, I'm just wearing a black shirt.

Mimi: I — I didn't particularly dress up, but if I don't do my eyeliner you can't see my eyes on the screen.

[Khanya laughs]

Shaunak: [Laughing] You can't see my eyes, either.

Maria Herold: Hey, together. We are already live on Facebook. Sebastian just said — just that you know.

[00:00:52] [Screen changes to a looped video of the artwork hanging outside the Garage Grande building in Vienna. Text, "Wienwoche 2021: party at the end of gender-normativity."]

Maria: And we will put the mix at thirty-five minutes alright, to have a small dance party.


Maria: We invite everyone who is watching right now to do a little dance with us, before we start.

[00:01:09] [Music starts, then abruptly stops]


Vidisha: Maria?


Shaunak: [Quietly] Hello?


[00:01:35] [Music, "IDK About You" by Fever Ray]

Mimi: Our dance party?


Shaunak: [Playfully] We need to see some um, fingers.



[00:02:55] [A box appears on screen with a timer counting down from five minutes, when the artist talk will go live.]


Maria: Would it be okay for you, like, to say also what you are doing? And — uh, just in general also — we can also like, introduce ourselves. Just make small talk.

[Quiet, Indistinct conversation in background]

[00:07:54] [The timer finishes counting down and the music stops. The looped video is replaced by a livestream of Garage Grande. Maira Caixeta, Wienwoche's social media manager, stands with a microphone. She has light brown skin and long tightly curled dark hair.]

[Maira shrugs and looks to the side in mock annoyance.]



Maira: Welcome and [in German] herzlich willkommen zur Wienwoche 2021. Wir sind heute bei der zehnten Ausgabe der Wienwoche. Das heißt Wienwoche wir zehn Jahre alt — oder ist zehn Jahre alt. Wir freuen uns sehr in gerade bei der Garage Grande. Das ist ein sehr interessanter, nice space, offener Raum für Kunst und Kultur, und wir haben ganze vier Stockwerke hier, also ziemlich cool. An den Wänden — oder an der Wand — unsere Location hängen heute drei wunderschöne Bilder von den Künstlern artists. Party at the end — After Party Collective, Party at the End of Gender Normativity. Okay ja, lass uns reingehen. Whoo!

[English Translation: Welcome to Wienwoche 2021. Today we are at the tenth edition of Wienwoche. That means Wienwoche we are ten years old — or is ten years old. We are very happy at Garage Grande. It's a very interesting, nice space, open space for art and culture, and we've got four floors here, so pretty cool. On the walls — or on the wall of our location, there are three beautiful pictures by the artists today. Party at the End — After Party Collective, Party at the End of Gender Normativity. Ok yeah, let's go inside. Whoo!]

[00:08:29] [Text, "Maira Caixeta, social media content management." German text, "Moderation der Liver-Streams." English translation, "moderation of the livestream."]

[00:08:39] [The camera pans up towards the artwork]

[0:08:59] [The camera follows Maira walking into the Garage building]


Team Member: Hello, hello!

Maira: Hello!

[0:09:10] [Maira walks past the team member into a room where audience members are sitting]

: Okay, nice, [in German] wir haben schon unser audience hier.

[English translation: We already have our audience here.]

[Maira clears her throat.]

Maira: Cool.


Maira: Okay [in German] gut. Dann können wir ja anfangen, Maria, mit was von —

[English translation: Good. Then we can start, Maria, with something of — ]

[Maira laughs]


[Maira adjusts her hair]

Audience Member: Your hair is perfect!


[Maira smiles and turns to the audience]

Maira: Gotta make sure. Okay, cool, [in German] danke.

[English translation: thank you]

[Maira passes the microphone to Maria Herold, one of the curators for the festival, and sits down in the audience.]

Maria: So, I would like to pass over the word to Karan. Karan will do the moderation for the artist talk.

Karan: Yes.

Maria: Hey!

[Maira waves in the back]

Karan: Am I audible?

[00:10:03] [Karan appears on screen. They wear glasses and have light brown skin and short dark hair.]

Maria: Yes, hello! Yeah, we can hear you.

[00:10:05] [Video switches to the audience, who wave at Karan]

Maira: Hello!

Maria: Hey, hi!

[00:10:09] [Karan smiles on screen].

Karan: Okay, great. I'm — I'm audible, really well, right? [They laugh]

Audience Member: Yeah, everybody can hear you.

[00:10:16] [Screen switches to audience before returning to Karan.]

Karan: Okay, great. Well, um, it's great to see people on the other side of the screen. My name is Karan and, um, my pronouns are they, he, and she. And during the course of this, um, conversation, you can refer to me as any of these pronouns and I will respond to them. [She laughs]

Um, I will be moderating this conversation, and — as I have served as the project manager for this project that has been devised by the After Party Collective, uh, in collaboration with, um, Jonathan Soren Davidson, Mimi Mondal, Priyanka Paul, Khanya Kemami, and they are all here with us today.

Um, the project is, um — just excuse me if you see me, uh, reading out my notes from my glasses, but I have no practice in this. So I'm just gonna do it! [He laughs]

Anyway, um, Party at the End of Gender Normativity is a public art project, as I said, that was devised by After Party Collective. "Continuing the interest in the space of the party, this project co-visions a future of friendship, intimacy, celebration, and care with young trans and queer folk from the Global South."

Um, for me personally, during the time of a global pandemic, this project has been a great medium to connect with other young, um, trans and queer folk. And we look forward to really doing that over here.

We believe that there will be a Q and A round towards the end of our conversation, and for the questions, we would definitely love to give the preference to trans, intersex, queer, Black, Indigenous, people of colour and disability to speak first.

Um, I'm just gonna pass the conversation now to After Party Collective and the rest of the participants, who will be introducing themselves one by one. I'm just gonna share my screen and hopefully you can see it.

[00:12:29] [A black presentation slide appears. Karan's video thumbnail is moved to the top right. When another person speaks, the video thumbnail changes to show them instead]

Karan: Can you see the screen?

Maira: Yes, we can.

Karan: Great, okay, over to After Party Collective.


[00:12:55] [Karan scrolls through the presentation. She stops at a photograph of people lying down on pillows in a room with purple lighting]

[About After Party Collective]

Shaunak: Hello! We are, um, After Party Collective. I'm Shaunak Mahbubani.

Vidisha: I'm Vidisha Fadescha.

Shaunak: Um, and we are a curatorial and performance based collective, uh, that started in 2018, 19. Um, we — we're uh, super interested in the space of the party and the energy of, um, of the party, um, as a site for critical praxis. Um and uh, especially as a site that can uh — can create affirmation and collective agency for trans, intersex, and other gender deviant, uh, peoples.

Um, Karan, you can just scroll through, we're not talking about the specific projects, you can just scroll a bit through them. We're —

[00:13:51] [Karan scrolls through the presentation. They stop at a photograph of Vidisha and Shaunak sitting on a bed in pink lighting. Shaunak is lying down and straddles Vidisha. Text, "in other words, gender identity is integral to the dignity of an individual and is at the core of personal autonomy and self-determination."]

Vidisha: We've been interested, uh. So, in 2019, we threw a party called the Queer Futures Afterparty. Uh, which was in one way celebrating the passing of the judgement, Decriminalising Homosexuality, but at the same time bringing the Trans Rights Act to the forefront in terms of that, uh, not really being something which is affirming within the context of India.

And uh, yeah, so we tried to create spaces which are both music and, uh, performances. And at the same point — at the same time, curatorially, our interventions are also as an arts practice interventions.

[00:14:35] [Karan scrolls through the slides, stopping at a photograph of a group of people in a large naturally-lit room, talking among themselves.]

Vidisha: So we have — we make videos, and those are things that we put into spaces, uh, as curatorial responses. Uh, we also have a curatorial work which is called a Trans Futures Archive, which basically invites trans people, uh, from the Global South, uh, which was also exhibited in New York this summer. And we have an upcoming exhibition uh, in November in New York, which is called the Dance Trans Revolution.

[00:15:05] [Karan switches to the slide of the people lying on the floor.]

Vidisha: Which again, um, kind of is trans people organising parties, actually. [They laugh] Yeah!

Shaunak: Yeah, and um, yeah! Over to the other participants to introduce themselves.

[00:15:21] [A black presentation slide.]


Vidisha: Mimi?

Shaunak: Mimi, do you want to go next?


[About Mimi]

Mimi: Great, I figured out how to unmute myself! Sorry about that. Um, hi! So I was, um.

Mimi: Hi, I — I am Mimi Mondal, and I am joining from New York. I grew up in India. I'm a science fiction writer, mostly — and editor. Mmm. And I joined the project because, uh, Vidisha and Shaunak brought me in to do a workshop about futurism with the artists. And that's what we, that's what we did. We did like, a two-day workshop on futurism and we talked about. I mean — [Mimi exhales].

One of my interests is, like — as a speculative fiction writer, one of my interests is to look at, you know, pasts and futures on like, a large scale, I guess.

And, uh — I'm of course one of the — I mean, I'm part of a big wave of like, you know, marginalised science fiction, fantasy writers that are coming out right now. So, I mean, there are some, like, extremely major writers on the forefront of it and, uh — I'm also part of this organisation called Plurality University, um, Network which is based in Paris and most of the things we do is to like, imagine sustainable futures for all kinds of people. Especially people who have been, like, historically marginalised.

So, um, what we did at the workshop, we, um, one of the things we did was, uh, we played a game. Which was — I mixed together two games. One of them is called The Object from the Future and, uh, you can find it online. Like, it's a game that you can play with cards, but it's also a game that you can, like, you know, download and take print outs. And we basically played it on Zoom and — and we mixed it up with like, this other, unpublished game created by this professor called uh, Maya Kóvskaya, who teaches at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. Mmm.

So we talked about how the change of like, you know, changing different factors in the future can change our lives in like, many different unseen ways. So, like — things like economy, things like climate change, things like, you know, inventions that can really transform, like, disability. And how these things change our outlooks towards the world and uh — yeah!

Shaunak: Mimi will go more into the process um, in a minute, but we're, uh, we can do that —

Mimi: Yeah, let's hear from our artists!

Mimi: And uh, I'm really excited about that!

Karan: Thank you, Mimi. Uh, Jonathan, can I invite you next? 

[About Jonathan]

Jonathan: Of course.

Jonathan: Hello, everyone, I'm Jonathan.

[00:18:49] [Presentation slide changes to an illustrated self-portrait of Jonathan, a mixed Black trans person with long curly hair. He is burning at the stake, crying and smiling simultaneously. Flaming arrows stop in mid-air as the ropes that bind him snap, freeing him. Multiple eyes open like wounds along his exposed arm.]

Jonathan: My pronouns are he, him, his, and I'm a South African-American writer and illustrator who grew up in the United States, where I'm currently based. Um, I work primarily with horror, which I like to use as a way of exploring futures of liberation. Across my work, I focus mostly on monstrosity, futurity, and liminality, telling stories about monsters who are trying to create seemingly impossible but deeply loving futures for themselves and their communities.

[00:19:12] [Next slide. Illustration of a brown-skinned figure with four eyes and long dark hair leaning forward as though falling. They cry and smile emptily. A creature with a hollowed out face embraces them from behind. Shards of glass reflecting multiple eyes and mouths float over its empty face.]

[00:19:18] [Slide changes. Illustration of an inverted figure clasping its hands. Three additional mouths smile from its neck. A moth is laid over its face. The eyespots on the moth's outstretched wings replace the figure's eyes.]

Maira: Yay!

[00:19:21] [Next slide. Illustration of a brown-skinned figure lying down in a pool of water. Their long hair floats above them in the air. A giant worm-like parasite wraps around their body.]

Karan: Thanks, Jonathan. Khanya, can I invite you next?

[About Khanya]

Khanya: Most definitely. Hello, everybody. [Laughs]

[00:19:37] [Presentation slide of Khanya's artwork. A nude fat person with a full-body snake tattoo sits cross-legged. Shards of glass stick out of their bleeding body. A large tattoo on their stomach reads "baby them." One of their hands is made of metal and has colourful wires attached. Wires also come out of their head.]

Khanya: Online and offline, I hope everyone's doing really well today. My name is Khanya Kemami. Uh, my alias is Wacom Boy, which is what you see on screen. Um, my pronouns are he, him. I'm a born and based South African queer and trans tattooist, digital artist, and illustrator.

[00:19:53] [Slide changes. Illustration of seven nude Black men with different piercings, tattoos, and hairstyles. Some of the men are trans. A few look flirtatiously at each other, others turn towards us.]

[00:19:58] [Next slide. Illustration of five nude Black women. A woman at the top has a pink afro, and two women at the bottom have white and blue hair, forming the colours of the trans pride flag. They each pose confidently.]

Khanya: My work's primarily served as platform of celebration for the marginalised, uh, bodies and identities, uh, a way to express, uh, the trans experience, um — celebration of trans bodies in all their forms and abilities, uh, the African experience, and at times, topics that are based on activism and politics.

[00:20:16] [Slide of the illustration of the group of Black men again]

Khanya: Essentially, I would like to call my work a gay, Black, trans pop art.

[00:20:23] [The presentation cycles through the slides of the illustrations]

Khanya: [Buffering, indistinct]. Graphic, body mod party. Everyone is invited to unless, of course, you don't want to. [He laughs] But it's ultimately been a pleasure to be here, and to be introduced to all of you and to meet all of you. And I hope you do enjoy our little chit-chat exchange today. Thank you.

Maira: Thank you.


Karan: Priyanka, can I invite you next?

Priyanka: Yup.

[About Priyanka]

[00:20:55] [Presentation slide of Priyanka's artwork. A large group of Indian people smile and raise their arms at a crowded protest. People hold signs that read "we're here, we're queer," "queers against fascism" and "scrap the trans bill 2019." A variety of pride flags are waved. Two circles are drawn in the top corners with further details of the protest.]

Priyanka: Hi, I'm Priyanka Paul. I'm from Mumbai, Bombay, in India. I'm twenty three years old and my pronouns are they, she, him — I use all pronouns. Um. My work revolves around the themes of social justice and self-exploration, with a focus on understanding marginalisation.

[00:21:12] [Slide changes. Detailed illustration of a group of people at a market. Someone holds up a string of fish. A giant plate of food rolls across water. Fish jump out between the crowd. A person poses with their foot on a basket.]

Priyanka: Um, so I cover everything that happens in my life. I come from an area of marginalised identities, especially in India, and I talk a lot about the communities I come from.

[00:21:28] [Next slide. Illustration of children and adults eating at a table stacked with food and bowls. In the background are four mirrors. The first shows someone looking at their body with eyes watching behind them. The second shows a group of people eating. The third shows someone's feet standing on a scale, another person throwing up, and a person resting their head on a toilet. The fourth mirror shows several people's heads crowded together.]

Priyanka: Yeah. Our work is like — aims to be really detailed, and be able to tell multiple stories within one frame. Yeah.

[00:21:31] [Slide changes to an illustration of a person with light brown skin sleeping on a blue floor in a pink and purple bedroom. Many miscellaneous personal objects are scattered around them, including a teapot, laptop and camera. Two cats lie beside them.]

[00:21:37] [Illustration of a brown-skinned person with blue hair studying at a desk. Many personal items surround them, including two small rainbow and trans pride flags. On their wall is a poster of a blue Dalit flag with "Jai Bhim" written. A small sculpture of B. R. Ambedkar, a leader in the history of the Dalit rights movement, sits on their desk.]

[About the Project]

Karan: Thank you so much, uh, to everyone for introducing themselves. Um, that was an awesome introduction for the audience to get a sense of where all the participants come from and what their work has been so far.

Now we are going to get into our project and our process. Um, and how — what the final outcome of the project has been, as well, from the artists. Um, I would like to invite — I mean, I'm inviting people constantly. [They laugh]

But I would like to invite once again the After Party Collective, um, to maybe, um, tell us a little bit about the intentions of creating the project, the project in itself, and how it also fits in the larger — in the larger curatorial of the After Party Collective. Yeah, that's it.

[Karan smiles]

Shaunak: Thank you, Karan. Maybe we'll stop sharing screen for a bit. Um.

Vidisha: So everybody's visible.

[00:22:40] [Shaunak and Vidisha appear large on screen. Shaunak has long straight hair, light brown skin and a beard. Vidisha has short green hair and light brown skin. They both wear a variety of jewellery.]

Shaunak: Until we go into the artworks, yeah. Super!

[Happily] Um, it's so good to do this again on — and uh, see everyone's faces on Zoom. A lot of the project happened in this manner, on Zoom, um. And um, while thinking of the project, we — we actually proposed the project right in, um, the middle of the pandemic. Especially when it was quite, um, quite strong in India, um, at that moment, and um, for us, there was definitely, um, a lack of, a lack of um —

Vidisha: Collectives.

Shaunak: Collectivity that we were feeling. There was a lack of collective energy that we were feeling. Um, a lack of creative exchange. Um, and we were really eager to use this prompt of uh, back to the future 21 — Back to Normality 2121, uh, that Wienwoche had put out.

Uh, to really use that moment of pause, to use that moment of contemplation, to um, to do that labour of imagining. Because, um, imagining is something that takes practice, that takes a kind of rigour to it. Um, and a hundred years in the future is not an easy task. [They smile].

Uh, so, that was really, um, that kind of uh, bringing together, both of those motivations, to both — to once again, have an idea, of, um, community and collectivity, now over the virtual. And what it also allowed us was to then invite artists from different parts of um, of the world, who we, um — whose work we really like, and whose work we've been connected to, um, to gather together in uh, in this virtual space.

Um, one of the interests that we have been thinking about for a long time, is what happens to conversations that are — what — what is the richness of conversations that comes about when we are able to gather as — exclusively as trans, uh, folk. And have these conversations where we are not explaining the basics of gender. [They smile]. Um, where we are on the same page about those ideas of gender, and then the conversations are able to be a lot deeper.

We were able to go into a lot more nuance, uh, through our conversations, rather than talking about the very, um, very basic frameworks of gender that need to be explained otherwise.

Um, and yeah, the space of the party is something that we, um, base a lot of our work in and it felt natural to kind of take that as, um, take that as a leaping board to imagine the future. There are many possible futures, but, we — we have a certain kind of affinity to the space of the party. Maybe V, you want to talk about that?

[00:25:47] [Shaunak smiles and turns to look at Vidisha beside them.]

Vidisha: Yeah! I think, I mean — it's also really interesting because when this kind of, um — we proposed that to the artists, uh, there were a lot of these things that we also heard from their own interests and, uh — and with the party, actually, uh, but also kind of — I think, collectively. Uh, it also expand — collectively, working with the artists, it also expanded our ideas of what one can include within a physical space, as well. And it's actually amazing because the pandemic —

[Vidisha laughs ironically]

Vidisha: Bad — it's bad. I'm not saying good. But it has actually made space for us to not constantly just create the kind of parties which were — which were already being created. And — yeah. But like, it's been kind of giving us more collective like, things to think of when we are throwing, uh, physical parties again. Um and uh. Yeah.

It's also just been really, uh, amazing to hear our different contexts and see, and uh — and in fact, physically, also experience some of those things in terms of, like Khanya not having the internet because there were so many things that were happening in South Africa simultaneously.

And I think — so the physic — the digital is obviously not away from that kind of realities which are our — in — um. And also in terms of time, like, it's crazy how the digital tries to kind of bring people together. In the screen, we are imagining we are in the same time, but we are actually not in the same time. And like, right now, people in India are in the future, while we sit here.

[Vidisha and Shaunak laugh]

Vidisha: Um, you know. And it's, uh — so I think that those experiences also collectively bring out some ideas. And it's — I mean, it's just been fun that we finally were able to do it!

Another thing, actually, for us, about creating these kind of spaces which are exclusive is because there is actually no pedagogy in terms of arts, or in terms of aesthetics, which is, uh, primarily even available to trans people because we are not necessarily seen within what we call aesthetics. And what we call arts practice, or art history, per se. Or even, you know, even within mythologies that kind of surround us in terms of socially, culturally, that — you know, 'trans people do not exist.' Um, because the law tends to do that, because religion, in terms of orthodox form, tends to do that.

So we are interested in creating this kind of pedagogy. And I think it is this exclusive kind of collectivity which is able to create that pedagogy. Not just for us, but also for other trans peers. Uh, so that's why we are interested in this kind of collectivity, and this kind of a practice.

[Shaunak and Vidisha smile]

Shaunak: And we're so happy that all of y'all um, were able to join us in the project and spend so much time and energy, uh, conversing, sharing, being vulnerable, uh, in — with the space.

It — it's been um, it's been so affirming to know that uh, that what we were thinking about — and just in terms of creating space, uh, can really leave us with kind of these — these beautiful moments, uh, of experience. Um.

And a big shout-out also to the Wienwoche team, uh, who's been uh, super supportive, uh, of us doing this from afar. Um. Yeah. Thank you so much.

Maria: Thank you!

[00:29:25] [Maria and the audience appear on screen. Maria smiles and speaks into a microphone. Other audience members smile and clap silently.]


[00:29:30] [Karan appears on screen.]

Karan: Um, thank you for sharing all of that. Um. Uh, talking a little bit about the process of — [indistinct].

I mean, as you got into, um, talking about how we've been, um — [indistinct].

Days together before, uh, the artists actually went on in creating the artwork. When it came to kind of designing the format of the workshop as curators, and also inviting Mimi um, into the conversation that primarily had visual artists. That — could you just take us through how, um, what were the reasons behind it? And um, given Mimi's work, as well, we're gonna get to them, as well. Um. How did you, um, go ahead in thinking about the format of the workshop? [Indistinct].

[00:30:24] [Vidisha and Shaunak on screen.]

Vidisha: I think that narrative is important even for thinking as visual artists. And I think, uh, it's more generative, uh, when — obviously, when artists also collectivise. Um. But I think — do you wanna share?

[00:30:40] [Vidisha turns and gestures to Shaunak.]

Shaunak: I think um, yeah, that the workshop was really thinking through this question of, um, speculation as — as work that we have to do, and work that can happen collectively.

We're both really interested in both of these format — in both of these ideas in speculation fic — uh, futurisms, as well as the idea of collective thinking. Um, and we've both really admired Mimi's work, uh, for a while before this. So it does seem like a really good opportunity to be able to pull them uh, into uh, working with us. [They laugh].

And get to also know — I mean, the process of working with people also help — is — is a way for us to get to know people better and that's really exciting. Uh, people that inspire us to think more, and Mimi's work, uh, does that in such a gorgeous way. That their — their imagination really brings into, uh, this —so many intersections. When they're writing, when they imagine the future, they're really bringing so many intersections in. And so we really wanted them to share that. A bit of, uh, that glimpse into their mind and process with the artists. And that's why, um, we were excited to bring them into the project. Especially to lead the workshop and, uh, share — share those ideas with us.


[About the Workshops]

[00:32:10] [Karan on screen, smiling.]

Karan: Thank you for sharing that. Um, Mimi, over — over to you. You already um, kind of took us through as to how we spent those days of the workshop. And um, how — what were the ways in which you kind of brought in these ideas, as well.

Um. Something that you sort of brought into the workshop that kind of struck me — and we discussed a lot about it, as well, um, was this idea of world-building, but world-building with care. So, I just would like you to talk a little bit about that, uh, in context to the work — in context to your work, and also how um, you brought that into the format of the workshop, given, uh, all the participants were, um, uh.

[Buffering, indistinct].

Came from so many different intersections. And yeah! Just your thoughts on the workshop, if you can elaborate. [Karan smiles and gestures happily.]

[00:33:14] [Mimi appears on screen. They have light brown skin, shoulder-length blue hair and tattoos on their arm.]

Mimi: Thank you, Karan. So, um, so world-building is largely a term that's used in science fiction and fantasy writing a great deal. And uh, what it refers to is, of course, building a world for your fiction, um, or your art.

The idea is that when you're writing science fiction or fantasy, which is, uh, quite a bit further from the real world, then you're kind of taking your audience on a journey where they don't — don't know what to expect from, like, the parameters of that world. Like what's supposed to be normal, what's supposed to be, you know. What are the things that are valued? What are the people that are valued? What customs and other things, you know, bind this world?

And, uh, so when you're writing science fiction and fantasy, as opposed to, say, realism fiction, you do have to pay attention to these a little bit. Like, I mean, you have to pay attention to them if you're writing realism, as well, but if you're writing realism, you still have, like, the scaffolding of the world that already exists. So you don't — you don't have to think about the structures of the entire world.

But when you're writing something about the future, then it's basically entirely created by you, right? And — and all the aspects of the future that you're probably not thinking of, you're probably leaving the dominant narrative still working. And, like this — this is what happens like, you know, when you look at, say, like a major TV franchise. Or a major movie franchise like Star Wars. Like, you know, it's like — humans in space! Far into the future, but they're — major people are still white people, right? And they still speak English.

And uh, so. So, yeah, so when you're writing a future, it — it — or you're, you know, painting a future, you're visually depicting a future — it helps to think about many different aspects of what's going into your piece. Because if you, once again, like, the aspects that you're not thinking of are probably still getting written, anyway. But they're getting written in that dominant narrative. Like if there isn't, say, like a disabled person in your future. What happens to disabled people in this world, right?

So — so that is the kind of thing I — we did. But on the other hand, like, when you're also doing world-building and you create a future that doesn't have reference points in the present. Like if it's very much inside your head and it doesn't — like, for the audience, it doesn't follow through from references that they understand, then the audience may not follow what you've tried to depict in your work.

So you — you kind of have to work towards that balance of — you know, trying to change as many aspects and revolutionise as many aspects of the real world that you can, but also leave a referential string that your audience can follow to your work.

And, like these were the principles that we were working towards in our workshop. We read some essays, we, um, read some Octavia Butler. [They smile].

Um, we read some adrienne maree brown. We um, brought in some of our favourite works, like all of us brought in, like, poems that we like reading.

Um, we talked about climate change, we looked a lot at like, sustainable architecture and things like that. So we talked about things like privacy, and what happens to privacy, what happens to people caring about each other? In a sustainable future? And, like, many of those other factors which are probably not directly in the realm of transness, but they still, you know, they still contribute to the main topic. Yeah! So, that's what I had to say.

[Mimi laughs quietly]

Karan: Thank you, thank you for sharing that.

[00:37:28] [Karan on screen.]

Karan: Um, I also feel like — [buffering, indistinct]. Like, putting together this with what Vidisha shared about the intention of the project, of how there has been no aesthetics or any visual language, or any art that showcases, um, work by queer and trans people. Something that I thought was very um, pivotal in this project was work coming from, uh, the imagination. [Indistinct] From queer and trans people from the Global South.

So I feel like that also kind of, um, brings it into — it's almost like building an archive for the future, narrated by these individuals. [They smile and gesture happily]. I could connect that to the comment, um, um. It would be great to kind of jump in and see the works of the artists. So I would like to invite um, Jonathan to uh, talk a little bit about his piece. I'm just gonna share my screen.


[About Jonathan's piece]

[00:38:37] [A black presentation slide appears. Karan's video thumbnail is moved to the right again. When another person speaks, the video thumbnail changes to show them.]

[00:38:40] [Slide of Priyanka's illustration of the blue-haired person.]

[00:38:44] [Slide of Jonathan's illustration for the project. Humans and monsters relax at a futuristic sleepover. A green monster with spider eyes flirts with a purple hollow-faced robot. A holographic figure glitches. In the background, a Black human with a shiny prosthetic arm checks a mobile device. An alien chats with a carnivorous plant. A shadow person waves inside a mirror. A fat Black human sits on a bed, smiling and holding a drink. Beside them, a Black android sleeps peacefully. Multiple wires connect their head to a device in their hand. Food floats throughout the room.]

Karan: Jonathan?

Jonathan: Hello.

Karan: Hi, um, thank you, first of all, thank you for contributing and creating this, um, beautiful piece for us. Could you tell us and talk us through a little bit about your process, and also how — maybe you can talk a little bit about, uh, the workshop, as well, and how that sort of, those conversations influenced, uh, what you have created — or didn't? And uh — tell us a little bit about the piece that is in front of us.

Jonathan: Of course! I think with this piece, um, I was thinking a lot about my experience of transness — as well as my experience of disability and queerness —and was reminded of divergent and disobedient and dangerous body minds, um, who have at some point in history, like, been thought — through to the present, have been thought to be monsters or have been considered monstrous. And I wanted to create a party where these beings, um — as well as other, less familiar ones — could relax without the pressure to perform or conform, um, because that's how I imagine the end of gender normativity would feel.

Um, we could be free not only in terms of, like, our gender presentations, but also like, um, in our experience of our body -minds, or, at the very least, we'd be approaching a future where that would be possible. So with this piece, um, most of all I really wanted to create, or convey, a sense of cosiness, safety and warmth for the characters at this party, um, even if it evoked feelings of uncanniness or confusion or even discomfort in the viewer.

Um. I wanted some of the figures to feel dangerous for a human onlooker — or who, maybe outside of the context of this party might be threatening — but who are able to relax in this space and who are safe in this space.

Um. So, like, even though the party-goers are enjoying themselves — or enjoying interactions that we might be able to relate to — like on the left, the spider, like, has a crush on this robot, and in the back, there's like an alien like, smiling and chatting with a plant. But I didn't want the viewer to necessarily know how to relate to them. Um, what was most important to me was that the folks at the party felt at ease without the pressure to be anything other than who they were!

Um, everyone at the party has different needs, so some people want to interact. Or some people don't! And some people just need to sleep, or others want to talk, or others want to decompress. But they're all held in that space and are able to access those needs in that space.

Um. In terms of specific aspects of the piece, like, the glitching figure in the front is experiencing what may be considered a malfunction, but this divergence isn't causing them any distress, because they have access. And they're meant to be incoherent, um, but that incoherence is met with affection from their human friend behind them on the bed. Um, they don't have to make sense. There's no pressure to make sense in this space.

And then some of the figures aren't even corporeal, like, the glitching person certainly isn't, but neither is the shadow person in the background. Or like the faint outline of, like, the slug person on the left, um, in the back. So the party itself might not even have a physical or stable location, but could be happening simultaneously across time, across space, across other dimensions, in order for everyone, um, present to be there.

So that's what I wanted to say about the piece. And then, in terms of the workshop and how that impacted me, I think, definitely — thinking about and engaging with the future is something that I do a lot in my own work, and that I'm really invested in, but is something that I struggle with honestly quite a lot because, um, the conditions we live under now make it very difficult to dream. And, as, like, Shaunak and Vidisha were saying, like — imagining takes, like, effort. [He laughs].

It's, like, it's a whole process, like — it can be difficult to dream and to imagine, um — and it's work, and the workshop really encouraged me to sit deeply with that. Like my own internal feelings of, like, even though I'm so interested in and passionate about these futures that I talk about in my writing, there's lots of times where I'm like, I have no idea what that future could even possibly look like because all I know now is the context of, like, oppression. And to like, think beyond that context is hard.

Um. And so that was something I really appreciated about the workshop, was that, um, we were asking each other all of these questions, and these what-ifs. And from those what-ifs, we were allowed to like, reimagine and create, like, brand new things that, like, maybe none of us had ever thought before. Or like, if we had, to engage with them in a different way, and in a collective way. Um, so that was something I really liked.


Karan: Thank you for sharing that. Um, before I ask a question that I may have, I'm also kind of opening up this conversation largely to everyone because I think this is one of the first times that we — all of us are together after the workshop in May.

And uh, this is the first time that we are also interacting with all the pieces together. So if, if the artists have anything to say about Jonathan's work or anyone else's work, like, feel free to chime in. Because that's the real energy of — this project really has been of everyone contributing and coming together and just, um, blurting out whatever they wanted to say.

So, um. So, yeah, like, it would be good, it would be good to hear from — from everyone about, um, anything that they want to say about the work that is in front of them. And, um, yeah, I just wanted to throw that out there. [She laughs].

Um, Jonathan, uh, something — I mean, we also had — [indistinct]. I think longer artist introduction. I think the first meeting that we had together went on for 8 hours, I remember sleeping at 4am. Um, which was kind of our introduction to each other.

And you shared in — in your work, um, you constantly explore liminal spaces, and it was very interesting to note, for me, at least, but generally speaking, that you, uh, like exploring gender as a liminal space. Which, um, has been a point of conformation for most of us, and all of us, as well.

So I just wanted to — I mean, I think you've sort of already answered it by talking about how, uh, the piece has people from different time periods. But if you could kind of, um, expand that a little bit more in context to this piece and also your work, of how you explore uh, liminal spaces together such as time and gender, and what that means to you.

Jonathan: Of course. I think, for me, um. Well, liminal spaces are in-between places that hold, um, by their very nature, endless possibility because they can't be defined. Um, they're neither here nor there, or this or that, but, um, like you said, are places of transition and creation that aren't limited, um, by like, the constructs, or the rigidity or boundaries or limitations of, um, perhaps more concrete realities or experiences. And liminal spaces are unknowable. Um, and sometimes uncanny for that reason that they can't be known and they can't really be defined.

And gender is a liminal space for me, personally, because my gender can never be known fully or intimately, by another person, and because it doesn't necessarily easily fit into the shape of gender in our current realities. So, even though I'm a trans man, and the concept of 'man' might be familiar, in a cis-heteronormative way, or according to the gender binary, my experience of being a man is a trans experience, and so is not so easily defined or understood.

And when I try and translate my gender, I sometimes say it's as though a being from another place, um, maybe an extra-terrestrial, or a non-corporeal entity, with a gender that we never could have language for, embodied here, and their gender got translated as masculine because that was the experience they felt most aligned with on this plane or on this planet.

So, to put it simply, like — my gender is not of this world and can never be understood by this world. So it feels liminal because it doesn't belong here. Um, and that understanding of gender as a liminal space influenced this piece because there are other non-humans here, too. Um, and their experience of gender or transness could also never be understood in human terms.

So, if I told you that everyone at this party was trans, not only the humans, through, like, through which we might have at least some understanding of what transness might mean, um, but that the spider and the robot and the alien were, too, like, what would that mean? We wouldn't be able to understand that experience for them because we wouldn't have language for their context. So we wouldn't know, like, why or how their gender was divergent, or considered dangerous where they were from, only that it was.

Um. So that's how gender — liminal gender, I think, came into this piece. And then, in terms of how liminality in time and liminality in gender intersect, I think that's a good question that I want to think more about.

Um. Time might be experienced as liminal through haunting, um, or through time travel. I explore those a lot in my work. But in moments when we feel close to different pasts or different futures, or where things begin to overlap and layer over each other. And our genders are not necessarily, like, bound to this time or place, um — and we are connected to those many pasts and futures in maybe, uncanny ways.

Um, and we might also specifically engage with futures through our genders, like, um, what we were thinking about with this piece, and the party at the end of gender normativity. So, with this project, you know, like, the party is taking place one hundred years in the future, but the beings present, like you were saying, like, might be from different places and spaces. Um. And yet are all here, so I think that could be one way, at least, that liminal time and gender are intersecting, but — hopefully that answered the question!

[Jonathan smiles and puts his hand out playfully.]

Karan: Yeah, it definitely, definitely does.

Shaunak: I also wanna — um, wanna uh, really appreciate the way that, uh, Jonathan emphasised and brought in this question of, uh, rest and relaxation into the party space. And really explained what it meant for them — meant for him.

And, um, kind of — it's also, it's really, uh, pushed our thinking of uh, spacial and accessibility needs within these kinds of, um, spaces of gathering. And to have, um, the bed here so prominently. And uh, you know, like really break up the geography or the topography of the party in a — in a fabulous way. Uh, we really loved hearing those aspects from you, Jonathan, and thank you so much.

Jonathan: Of course. I really wanted to make sure rest was included because I'm so sleepy. I have a sleep disorder — [laughs]. Um, that means I have excessive daytime sleepiness and am sleepy any time of the day, will fall asleep at any moment, if given the chance, um, but often times am not able to rest or get the sleep I need because of um, access problems.

But at a party, where people are meant to — they don't, like — even if they're interacting in a way that, um, isn't necessarily normative or a way we might expect folks to act — interact at a party. Um. They're able to rest — like, they don't have to like, be — [he laughs and gestures enthusiastically]. They don't even have to be awake to be at the party! And that was important to me.


Karan: Thank you Jonathan, and thank you Shaunak, for sharing the comment.

Karan: Um, I will proceed uh, to Khanya. Khanya, if you could also — like Jonathan, share your reflections on, uh, the project and also the piece that you finally created.

[About Khanya's piece]

[00:51:54] [Slide changes to Khanya's illustration for the project. Two naked Black trans beings are joined at the shoulder. They close their eyes and raise their outstretched hands to the sky. Two tubes connect their heads and chests to a sphere above them. Leaves grow out of their arms. At the bottom is a four-eyed springbok with blue, pink and white fur, the colours of the trans pride flag. Leaves sprout from its back, as well.]

Khanya: Sure. Well, I'm gonna start by speaking about the concept that I had, uh, with this piece. My aim was to capture the out-of-body and also in-of-body — that's not the right word — in-of-body experience with, uh, gender and relationships for the party — [buffering, indistinct] made the future.

So I wanted to feature two six-foot bodies who are conjoined at the shoulder, um, connected to a machine, almost, that is supposed to be almost a technological symbol um, of the mind. Uh, that serves as like a capsule of gender expressions, um, and the mental journey attached to gender. This machine, um, illuminates a holographic symbol of different gender expressions and doing the — [buffering, indistinct].

In my opinion, the activist, to express your gender. Um, cause through this machine, the figures can also, uh — giving you a bit of like, lore. [He laughs].

Could also change, um, their form to the desired image they want. Um, the mental connection of the gender flows from the capsule into the tubes that are um, connected to their chests. Uh, they grow — they grow leaves extended from their hands on their bodies, cause their bodies are entirely theirs — as ours are not, cause we are subjected to the ever-changing form of nature, uh, ideologies, and the environment that surrounds us.

The animal featured in front of them is actually a springbok, which is South Africa's, uh, national animal. Just wanted to involve myself and my space a little bit more. It's coloured in the current uh, trans flag's — um, as being transgender — or should I rather say transsexual, because we can't for sure say that nature and animals outside of us experience gender the same as us. So rather, being transsexual, um, exists across uh, the members of the natural world. It also symbolises a form of acceptance to those, uh, of that identity in the natural world and the current and the future world.

So, ultimately my party is more of a relationship between you, yourself, everything else around you. Um. The future, everything that will surround us, um, and the technological advancements in the future. How will that group or that party uh, benefit us. Uh, how will it feel within us and for us, and will it — will it be as sweet uh, to nature as nature — or sweet and accommodating — as nature has been to us?

Um, I really wanted to involve myself and the whole topic of a party — especially when it comes to gender expression — for me, has never been including a lot of group of people to celebrate different identities or represent different identities. Or there has been a very deep and eternal. Uh. [Buffering, indistinct].

In the future has always been like a very — focus on your mental type of space. As a trans person living in a cis world there's obviously a lot of pressure, I feel, to conform, or use terms like "passing" and stuff, in order for my identity to be validated. And in doing those — those actions, a lot of the time when I sit back and actually think about myself — [buffering, indistinct].

Wanted to be translated as, um — every time I think about myself and, like, what my gender actually means to me, it's forever changing.

I feel like a capsule within myself, um, of a bunch of experiences and going through a lot of things and figuring out if I do want to change my form to conform to this — if I mind having breasts, if I don't. If having chemical transition is necessary, if undergoing surgery is necessary. Stuff like that has — I — I feel like it's important that transness and the trans experience — and especially transness in the future — be very individual and very internal, and be embraced as — [buffering, indistinct]. More of an internal experience and a personal one instead of something that I want you to show me or prove to me that you are, or — to remove the whole uncomfortability of — [buffering].

You know, the rush to do certain things. The — the feeling inadequate cause you don't have access to certain things in order to confirm your gender identity according to the cis world. Um. And just realising that, well — realising how — how completely admirable nature is, cause nature is what it is, and we see it as natural no matter what the case is, but how we can look at ourselves and always want to fill in a form or fit in a space of nature and have to debate that element even though we're born alongside it —

[Buffering, silence]

Um, yeah to be of great importance. Also being a Black South African, the natural world and what nature can provide of us —

[Buffering, silence]

Has always been [indistinct]. My mother's house, who didn't know about my gender identity until I arrived, and how much acceptance it has been, and how natural I've been embraced, and how my identity has been compared to mythologies and — and stories and experiences of my culture. And how it's actually normal and how people like me in both the Zulu, Pedi, Sotho and Tswana tribes were actually deemed, um, ethereal, were deemed — closely connected to the spiritual world, were deemed more powerful. How queer couples were deemed in the same manner. How we still have queens and kings to this day who are celebrated purely because they are homosexual, purely because they are trans. Um, and how I don't want that element to be removed. And for the future, embracing —

[Buffering, indistinct]

You know, the whole thing of like, oh, in the future, trans people are able to get access to certain things better — like housing, if you're just point-blank born on the ground and you are just accepted for how you are.

And I really wanna celebrate this whole collaboration, as well, because in discussing with everyone, we actually put our heads together in order to form this —


Our different outlooks of things. We debated elements. Um. Such as, you know, accessibility, space, privacy, what is — [buffering, indistinct]. Caring, what is caring with —

[Buffering, silent]

It really helped this whole process not to feel as alone as, of course, lockdown has been.

[00:58:49] [Khanya's video thumbnail disappears from the presentation]

Khanya: Ooh!


Sorry, I think my video — my video stopped. Um, to stop, um —


Sebastian: We stopped —

Khanya: To basically not let this whole process be very lonesome. Cause obviously in South Africa, I did go through a whole —


[To Sebastian] Okay, no problem!

Um, because going through South Africa, there was a bit of a civil war uprising that happened here with the poor, um, and the un-listened to fighting against corporations.

So within all that chaos, it was really fun for this whole collaboration to exist, cause it was a way for me to escape, and basically be in different countries and different uh, mind spaces with other people and form this beautiful artwork that speaks on something I think we all share a like-mindedness in? And, yeah! Feeling — feeling pretty much like I'm part of a party of my own.

[He laughs].

If that makes sense. Yeah!

[00:59:53] [Karan's video thumbnail appears. When another person speaks, the thumbnail changes to show them, instead.]

Karan: Uh, it makes a lot of sense. Thank you, Khanya, for sharing that. I would like to just open up the space, uh, a little bit more, for anyone, uh, any of the participants who has anything to add in, or comment on the piece, or what Khanya shared.

Jonathan: Khanya, I just love your work so much and also, like — it was so lovely hearing you speak about this piece, in particular because I noticed things that I hadn't the first time I had seen it and I'm just really appreciating that. [He smiles].

Khanya: Thank you so much, Jonathan.

Priyanka: I think this is so beautiful. Like — and, I first did not understand it, but after listening to you, it just — it's just brilliant. And Jonathan, your work, as well, like — I love your piece, and I love how you — you did — you —

[They gesture excitedly]

The glitching thing, I remember us talking about it and also talking about textures and you — you just executed it so well, and I think both of you are so brilliant.


Jonathan: Thank you.

Khanya: Thank you, Priyanka.

Maria: Thank you, also —

Karan: Thank you, Priyanka.

Maria: Can I also ask a question?

[01:01:14] [Video thumbnail switches to Karan and freezes]

Maria: I don't know if we maybe already spoken about — maybe I missed it, but what's the meaning behind the goat? With the doubled eye?

[01:01:23] [Karan's thumbnail disappears]

Khanya: So the — the creature that you actually call a goat is actually a springbok. Uh, which is South Africa — it's a national — it's South African's national animal. Uh, they are adorned in the colours of the trans flag. That was kind of an integration, or a way for me to symbolise the celebration and acceptance of the trans body within the natural world — how nature will take on.

Um, they have multiple eyes because, obviously this is not an animal that exists within the real time. It's kind of a — a visual representation of, you know, multitude and embrace and celebration undergoing the same transformation as the figures, where it's taking on uh, green leaves out of its form.

Um. Yeah, yeah!

[01:02:06] [Khanya's video thumbnail appears]

Khanya: That's basically what it symbolises, is just the full-on embrace of nature — with the transness. So I wanted to take something that's close to home and wrap it around something that's even closer to home, just to remind myself what the — the whole artwork is actually speaking about. Hopefully that answers your question. [He smiles.]


Karan: Uh, thank — thanks for the question, Maria. Um, Priyanka, I open up — I'm opening up the space for you to speak to your work.

[Buffering, indistinct]

[About Priyanka's piece]

[01:02:58] [Slide of Priyanka's illustration for the project. A surreal colourful image filled with many details and scenes of queer futurity.]

Priyanka: I'm gonna need you to like, zoom in a little bit on parts, I guess. So I can — I can just, like, yeah.

[01:03:04] [Zoomed in detail of a floating blue and pink head with four smaller heads orbiting around it. In the background are a variety of detailed scenes. Parents raise a test tube baby. Someone looks out from inside a closet. A robot puts their arms around two human friends. Yellow rubber ducks float among pink lotus flowers.]

Priyanka: I mean, I remember after Mimi's, uh, one session, I felt just, like, extremely frustrated. I was just like, all these questions, and I want answers to them and I — my brain just kept doing, like —

[They gesture above their head]


Like, okay maybe now we could change this, and then it'll work and then — but like, every time I was just like, "capitalism," though!

[01:03:29] [Another detail of the illustration featuring a prominent human brain, colourful stairs going in reverse, Vidisha standing in a transporter tube, and a group of people using mobility aids held in a globe by blue robotic hands.]

Priyanka: Um, so I think this — this illustration is so detailed and like, so much of a mixture because for me, this was like, answering all those questions and I feel like this — everything from this is inspired from like, all the conversations we had like — I really tried my best to like, answer every detail.

[01:03:49] [Another view of the illustration. Details include a disco ball, hands reaching out, a person about to throw up beside a toilet, large geometric blue panthers, and flying babies in a cloudy blue sky.]

Priyanka: So if you zoom in, like, it — it's imagining a party. It's not created in, like, one kind of space — like, a certain space.

[01:03:56] [Another detail. Blue and purple skulls pile up beneath the scaffold of a pink human face. People relax and swim in water. A plate of jelly floats beside them. In the air is a giant pill with two people drawn inside. One of them has large green tubes attached to their head and back.]

Priyanka: It's just different. It 's just —verything mixed up, because I think — at the end of the world, it's just gonna be a little bit [they shrug] uncertain.

And I think I wanted to describe how — I think I wrote this down in my notes — I wanted — I wanted it to like — like the uneasiness of the body, which I think I explored a lot and like, talk about a lot, I wanted to flip that over its head and put that — put that on paper.

And I think a lot of this is just like, there's just people doing all kinds of things and resting, and partying, and I wanted to show, you know — there's space for all kinds of things. There's space for children, there's I — there's a lot of old — older people in there because for me, it was like, what is something that a lot of trans people don't experience is getting old, and I wanted to show that aspect of life.

[01:04:48] [Illustration detail with the floating head]

Priyanka: Right over there, it says "no HIV, no AIDS," because I feel like, when I imagine a queer future, I imagine no AIDS there. And I feel like that is something, like, we forget, and like — now with Corona, we're talking about a vaccine and like — it's like, we still don't fully have one for HIV and AIDS.

And I — and then there is like, a closet on top, which says, you know, "gender is a lie," and like — on the top part, yeah, that part, that has babies in test tubes because for some reason, childbearing is like the epitome of what gender is supposed to be and I feel like, let's nullify that. Fuck that, who cares? You know, no one has to go through childbirth! Just — baby just born! Pfft!

Yeah, and I think — if you like, zoom in, you can just see, like there are like, A.I's on top over there. People just resting, having food. I think all of this also, like, so much of what Jonathan was talking about he — he spoke about um, like, food being such an important — [indistinct] of the party.

If you scroll down a little bit. Karan, can you scroll?

[01:05:59] [Illustration detail with the brain and reverse stairs]

Priyanka: Uh, there's Vidisha over there! Cause I think I went into this project, um, I think — like, my favourite ideology, and I truly believe that liberation comes from friendship. So I think I went into this project thinking of all the different ways I wanted to conserve, um, and create a future filled with friendships, and how the dynamics of friendships will play out into bringing true queer liberation into the world.

Um, I designed a lot of spaces which I think are um, designed around disability, because I truly believe that — that is how you create an equitable world. Um, there is, if you scroll a bit more down.


[01:06:40] [Illustration detail with the disco ball]

Priyanka: Um, yeah, again, um. There's — over there, at like the left top, there's a person puking on a toilet cause I believe, um, at all parties that' s what I do. And I felt like I needed to connect my present to the future.

So there's a little bit of everything in it! There's babies that are just like flying about. They're just chilling. Cause in a queer future, like — people are not like, worried about children. They're just — they're just living their lives. Everyone's chilling.

[01:07:09] [Illustration detail with the people relaxing in water and the floating jelly.]

Priyanka: There's a — [they wiggle their fingers] a mixture of technology in our futures, but also — also a really important point that Khanya raised, um, when we were doing these workshops, was um, about how, why are we thinking of like, the future, like, in a — in a very particular way, when so much of it is going back to our roots?

So I think if you scroll up, there are, like, in a few places, there are images of blue cats and blue panthers because I wanted to reference like, my anti-caste um, like my legacy, my Bahujan legacy and all of that. And I think — yeah, yeah. [She laughs].

[01:07:43] [Illustration detail with the disco ball]

Priyanka: That's the blue panther. Um. Yeah. And I think you, the aim was just to look at this, and every different part of it, and be able to tell a different queer story, which like, truly talks about queer liberation not being a monolith, and in all essentiality, we are just multitudes!

[They open their arms wide].

And I think this is what I wanted it — wanted this to be representative of. [He laughs]. Yup!


Karan: Thank you so much for sharing that, Priyanka. Um. [Indistinct]. Before like, I ask any questions — [indistinct]. I see a lot of reactions, does anyone want to share anything?


Khanya: I'll start, by saying one thing I very much appreciate about Priyanka is that her mind is as busy as her work. And all of it is very — [indistinct].

And all very like — everything that should be included. Or my favourite thing about your piece is that there's so much to look at. There's humour in it, there's some things that wouldn't make sense unless you really attached a narrative to it yourself. There's things that feel out of place, like the skulls and stuff. I love how you wanted to include a multitude of whole different ideas, and I feel like in doing that, you did answer all the questions.

Um, I just have lots of fun with your work. It's always really busy.

[He laughs]

It's really collage. And my favourite thing is always when you explain your work. When you said you put the woman puking cause that's what you do at parties? I love that. And I love you for that.

[Khanya and Priyanka laugh]

Priyanka: Thank you, Khanya, I love you!


Vidisha: [Heartfelt] It's uh — thank you so much, Priyanka, for making me there. But —

[Vidisha and Shaunak laugh]

Vidisha: And also actually, even more for sharing that it's uh, really important that, when we think of futures, or we think of even our current, it's really important to think of our peers. Because these are the people we are gonna get old with.

And I feel that, it's about also producing a future where there is more love, at least around us, and therefore being honest about ourselves to other people.

So either you like me, and then we are friends, and then we grow old together, but — if you don't like me, then I already know.

[They laugh]

That um, we are not growing old together, or you are on your own.

And I think it's really amazing that you've been able to translate so many of these different things within just one illustration. Um.


And, I mean, it's just —

[01:10:29] [Illustration detail with the floating head]

Vidisha: It's also amazing because you also see some parts of your previous works within it. And, uh, so it always kind of — and I think that kind of hypertext within your work also becomes really interesting because they connect to something that you've done before, or something that you'll do in future.

Um. Yeah, and I really like these little bubbles of like — uh.

Like Karan, maybe you can just point to the image, which is on the — yeah, yeah, yeah! No, no, no. Yeah, you — no, no. The — on the left of the head, which is maybe the right for you?

[Karan moves the cursor around different parts of the image]

Yeah, but like — just these kind of really small uh, kind of, extremely important or like — even on the right, you know, you are just kind of —

Priyanka: Yeah, if you notice on top of the head, on, uh — there's a structure over there, but it's like a kink house! Cause it —

[Overlapping conversation, indistinct]

[01:11:21] [Vidisha smiles and nods excitedly.]

Vidisha: That's what I'm saying —

Priyanka: Because I — yeah. And I like — I also, before this, like during the course of this project, like, I asked — I spoke to people on my Instagram, where I was just like, "how are you imagining a queer future?" And I got brilliant responses. And — all of them were so different from each other. And there was no way for me to just like, make one specific thing, so I just went ham with it.

And this, personally to me, is like, yet, the best piece of work I've ever made and I'm incredibly proud of it.

[They press their hands to their chest]

And I'm incredibly thankful for the opportunity — not just for being able to create the art, but also to be able to have these conversations with y'all, I really learned so much.

Vidisha: I love that cat eating ice cream or something.

[Shaunak and Vidisha laugh]

Vidisha: It's just — in the back, in the bubble, like — it's amazing how you are able to just, through few objects, talk about so much more, and I like that kind of hypertext within your work, which is amazing.

Priyanka: Thank you.

[Illustration detail with the brain and reverse stairs]


Vidisha: I also love, in the end, you know, that floating? [They laugh] On the balloon? I just love those balloons. And the ducks, as well.

[01:12:38] [Illustration detail with the children floating in the sky.]

Vidisha: And the flying kids are amazing.

[Vidisha and Shaunak laugh]

Vidisha: Yeah, I love this lying down and the jelly in the swimming pool. It's just too good.

[Shaunak and Vidisha laugh]

Jonathan: Priyanka, your work is just so transcendent, and I love that you were saying — or speaking about how like, the queer experience and trans experience are not a monolith, and in fact, that we contain multitudes!

And you really should be proud of yourself! I'm so glad to hear that, like, you really are so proud of this work because it's incredible and — [he sighs happily].

I just love it so much, and I feel like you really —  I feel those multitudes when I interact with it.

Priyanka: Thank you.


[01:13:27] [Karan smiles]

Karan: Yeah, I feel — I share all the feelings and thoughts and emotions and expressions that have come out of this Zoom call, looking at your work. It's always been something that I feel, I — [buffering, indistinct].

I just don't know, something that I, I can feel it resonate, too. And I feel, um —

[Overlapping conversation]

Karan: Like, pulling this altogether and how, um, just in general, trying to reimagine the idea of intimacy and care and how you do that through, uh — as Vidisha said, putting in your peers, your friends, people you admire, and the feelings and thoughts that you have for them, is something, um, something that I personally have resonated with, as well.

Um. So yeah, that's — thank you for sharing all of that. I feel, I mean, I don't know, I feel like you have answered this question in parts, but the last thing that I would like to uh, kind of pose towards the, uh, end of this conversation is, uh — just the idea of like, how — how do you folks feel intimacy and care, um, should change — or will change towards the end oh, uh, gender normativity? 


[Intimacy and Care]

Karan: Yeah, that's — for me, I would look for friendship as a form of romance.

[Priyanka laughs]

Priyanka: Same.

Karan: For me.



[01:15:09] [Priyanka leans forward]

Priyanka: Wait, was that question for me?


[Buffering, indistinct]

Priyanka: I wanna hear that question again, I couldn't hear it fully.

Karan: Um. How — how should or how will intimacy and care change towards the end of gender normativity?


Priyanka: I think intimacy and care is at the root of destroying, annihilating gender normativity. I think when you have compassion and empathy and mostly, friendship, then you understand, like, completely diverse experience without, without holding it in, like, contrast to yours and feeling the need to police or you know, tamper with it. I think intimacy and love, and most of all — is just — is knowing. True love is knowing people. I think, you know. I think — yeah!

[Priyanka laughs]

Khanya: I agree with that. I agree with that, and I think all through that we also teach humbleness, so — you can also create space for identities and even provide a level of privacy, and not feeling an entitlement or possession, like having to oppose upon something in order for it to exist. I feel like, through care and friendship, that can, that can happen. I feel like the complete positivity and warmness is a direct competitor of the cold and harshness of ridicule and boxing, if that makes sense.

Jonathan: I think that, at the end of gender normativity, there would be a lot more openness, or um. People would be able to maybe experience intimacy and care more freely and openly. But I think, perhaps most importantly, at least for me, in ways that might not be considered normative today.

So, um, they wouldn't even need to be interacting or communicating in ways that we would be like, oh yeah, that's normative now. Um, and their body minds wouldn't have to like be a certain way. Like even thinking about the idea of empathy, as somebody who is not capable of experiencing affective empathy because of a personality disorder I have, um, how would that — and I know that's now taking it into the realm of disability, but that is like, a part of my experience in the world as a trans person and a disabled person, but um — how might we still experience intimacy and care even if we cannot relate in the ways other people might be relating to each other?

Um. And I think in terms of gender — care and intimacy today can be so influenced by gender norms in terms of performance — like someone might wonder, like, is it alright that I am vulnerable in this moment like this, or am I allowed to be this way? And might worry how others would perceive them and if they were performing correctly.

And the concern around, like, I can't just be me, because it's not alright to be that in this current reality, or these realities. Instead, in the future, maybe we wouldn't have to be any way at all, other than who we were, and would be able to interact more deeply, even if those interactions didn't involve any communication like we might understand it today. Um, if that makes sense.

[01:18:56] [Khanya smiles and speaks into the microphone on his earbuds.]

Khanya: So, within all the care, there's the hope there can be the existence of not caring.

Jonathan: [Excitedly] Yes!

Khanya: Within this expression of being yourself. So that there will be a level of care made where people can not care about how they feel, what they look like, what they don't look like, and within that, there's a warm embrace. There's a — yeah!

[Khanya laughs]

[01:19:16] [Jonathan smiles]

Jonathan: Exactly.


[01:19:23] [Karan rests her hand on their chin].

Karan: Thank you for sharing that, Jonathan. Um, if anyone uh, doesn't have any thoughts, we can open up the conversation now to any questions from the audiences or any, uh, question that is coming virtually. Um, I'm not sure.


[Question and Answer Session]

Maria: [Quietly] Thanks so much from, from Vienna. We are here in, uh — can you hear us?

Karan: Very lightly.

Maria: Hey.

Khanya: On my end, it's a little bit faint. Yeah, very lightly.

Maria: Just turn it up? [Louder] Hello, can you hear us? Now it should —

Khanya: Yes.

Jonathan: Yeah!

Maria: Thanks a lot for this amazing artist talk, and for sharing your concepts and ideas behind those works. Uh, I truly appreciate every piece.

[01:20:25] [Full-screen view of the audience.]

Maria: I'm — I need to say, I —I received the package, um, and I had the art pieces at home and I really had struggles to.

[Maria and Maira laugh]

Maria: Hang them outside. Um, but now they are hanging outside in front of Garage Grande.


And to everyone who is um, looking now, uh, on the Facebook livestream — passed by.

[01:20:57] [Screen changes to large grid of everyone's video thumbnails. When someone speaks, their thumbnail is highlighted with a green outline]

Maria: And really can watch this amazing piece of art and definitely — [indistinct]. Have a look at them. And I really — every piece is so wonderful, I like — Priyanka's piece, I could watch for hours.

[Khanya chuckles]

Maria: Everything is so amazing. Jonathan's piece is so — it's between — I had the feeling that it's somehow between the most — very relaxing piece, but also, it gave me the vibe of horror?

[Maria laughs]

[Jonathan smiles and gestures in elation]

Maria: So it was in the middle, and yeah. Yeah, and I also, I already asked this — I said this goat, which is not a goat and I want to apologise —  

[She laughs ruefully]

I did not know what kind of animal it is, so yeah.

[Khanya smiles and shakes his head reassuringly]

Khanya: Don't worry.

Maria: Also thanks a lot to the After Party Collective, it was really cool and yeah — we are very happy to have you.

Maira: Thank you so much.

Maria: Someone, maybe, from you, has a question or comment on?

[Maria turns to the audience]

Audience Member: Uh, just wanna say thanks, it's been amazing listening to all of you.

[They turn to pass the microphone to another audience member behind them]

Second Audience Member: Um, we just dropped in late, and it's a shame [laughs] that we didn't hear the beginning, um, but thanks for the sharing that we could, um, experience, and I'm looking forward to looking at the art outside now. Thank you.

[Members of the audience quietly applaud]


Khanya: Also I do wanna say if anybody, please — online, offline — please do feel free to go to each of our individual Instagrams, share any thoughts or anything. If you did view this, uh, drop us any questions that you feel like maybe you couldn't ask, or perhaps it's something you want to find out more about the work or anything else, don't feel afraid to reach out. The conversation doesn't normally end here, it continues on, such as queerness and transness. [He laughs]

Vidisha: I think I also wanna think with Mimi in terms of, um, uh— just like, as respond — because some of the — a lot of these works also came with our collective conversation responses.

[Priyanka nods]

Vidisha: So also to think that, I mean, I'm sure that each one of us who also didn't make the artwork was still imagining what is there in that futurity, so I just wanna know from you, like how do you imagine the party at the end of gender normativity? If — you don't have to.

[Vidisha laughs]

[Mimi begins speaking, no audio]

Vidisha: You're muted —

Mimi: Um, I — actually, like — can you hear me?

[Khanya and Priyanka nod. Shaunak gives a thumbs up]

Mimi: Um, the thoughts I had, like, I'm actually really happy with the work all three of the artists did because I was very curious about how our ideas would come out in them — because many of my ideas did come out in the artists' work.

So, I mean, you know, of the many different personality differences that all of us have — I am an introvert, and I am, I have like, a little bit of a panic problem with like, real parties, especially with strangers. So, um, like, I thought about a lot of those things, like you know, I'm a very small-sized person, I have like some — some mental issues that doesn't mix well with like, loud noises in a small space, so like, I have not been known to be a person who parties a lot. And when I think about a party in the future, therefore I'm also thinking about how, like you know, all of us are entitled to joy, and all of us are entitled to you know, having, communally, a comfortable, happy time with our friends.

[Vidisha, Shaunak, Khanya and Jonathan nod.]

Mimi: And so when you're thinking of a party at the end of gender normativity, and we're also thinking of other kinds of normativities, then how do we create a party in the future that like, pretty much, a large number of us can look forward to?

And like, not just think that it's a thing that you have to be present at, because it's, you know, it's posited as a happy thing to you, and you're doing it for social appearances.

So I was largely thinking of people's privacy, I was largely thinking of, you know, people who have children, people who are older, people who are disabled, people who are, um, introverted, people who are not good at closed spaces.

So, how do we imagine a party that is a party for all of these people? And, and I'm like really, really excited, really pleased with how all three of our artists put that through in like, different ways. [Laughs]

Yeah! Questions, do we need questions?

[Maira laughs]

Maira: Yeah, um I think what you just said, Mimi, is a very important topic. I was — while you were speaking, I was, like, imagining, maybe, you know, in the future, um, it could be, maybe the norm [laughs] to like, stream parties because —me, myself, I do like parties sometimes, but I have my phases where I just can't deal with like, a multitude of people and um.

Yeah, guess it's also like, part of my mental, um, illness or health, um, to kind of like abstain from social situations sometimes, and um, I was just thinking, like, imagining like, if this — what we are doing here right now, I mean, we are kind of like together, we're talking — okay, there's no music, but you know, it could be! Um, yeah! If, if something like that would like, take place more often.

I also like remember my last birthday I did on Zoom, like I had a Zoom party because I was not able to have a real party, so I had a Zoom party, and it actually made me so happy. Like, I was there for an hour and after that I was super happy, I'm like, "wow, this is great." But I know, like, many people hate Zoom, so. I don't know, yeah! Just thought I'd share that.

Maria: And I want to —

Mimi: I'm really happy to hear that, because, I mean, this was obviously part of our conversations about like, how, you know, the digital life shortens distances? Because, you know, we were all in like, our own different spaces, and we were across, at least three continents, if not four — currently, we are across four continents.

[Jonathan, Vidisha, Shaunak, Khanya and Priyanka nod]

Mimi: And uh so — and I think some of our artists depicted those, too. Because a lot of people would not be able to be at the party, if they're not digitally connected.

And digital connection has increased a lot by like, leaps and bounds, really, in this pandemic. Like, I have never seen so many people be able to use like, you know, video conferencing. Before this, it was like — used to be pretty hard to do video events because a lot of people would just not be willing to be part of it, right?

And a lot of us are talking about how, maybe events in the future will always have these two components, because now that everyone has gotten used to it. Like, I have an event in Amsterdam in like, November, and I still don't know if I can go, because — and, like, it's a pretty global event so, like there are people coming from different countries, and they're not sure how many of those people will be able to make it to Amsterdam, so we're still staying like, very fluid about how many people will present in person, and how many people will present online.

Like, many other events are planning to do that even after maybe, if these restrictions — travel restrictions stop happening, like — I mean we don't even know how, when they'll get lifted, so far. So many people are doing several iterations of like, you know, online events. And, as a generation, like us, and the generation after us, we'll probably be more — doing more parties online, like — currently, we are still not that used to Zoom, and we're like, getting very tired, because we're still using Zoom within the frameworks that we already have, right? The same computers, the same home offices, but, the more time progresses, there would also be imaginations that would bring up better spaces for this sort of communication and uh. Like, I'm personally very excited about that.


Mimi: Do we have?

Maria: I just wanted to ask if you want to see the art pieces from outside, we could go with the camera in front of the Garage. Is it possible, Seb — ?

Mimi: That'll be great.

[Overlapping conversation]

Maria: It might be dark already, but we could try it.

Khanya: Please do!


[Maria and Maira stand up and walk towards the camera]

Maria: One, one moment. [Laughs] They haven't been ready yet.

[Khanya laughs]


[01:30:39] [Shaunak and Vidisha, large on screen]

Shaunak: I think we can, um, maybe use this time to once again say a big, big thank you to the whole Wienwoche team. Uh, especially Maria, who's been the backbone in supporting this project and really uh, helping us push it through from afar.

Um, it's been so gorgeous to be able to, uh, send our work there during this uh — during this pandemic time, and have it displayed in Vienna. It feels like, uh, part of us is there, uh, celebrating this awesome festival with y'all.

Um. So yeah, a big, big thank you to the whole team who's been behind the festival, it's gorgeous and thank you — best of luck for the days ahead!

[They laugh]

[01:31:30] [Maria and the audience on screen. The room is darker now as dusk approaches.]

Maria: Thanks so much. [Laughs] So let's go outside, I think we're ready now. Come.

[Visiting the Exhibit]

[Maria takes the hand of a child and leads the audience out of the Garage]



Maria: So, yeah, we're just walking through the Garage. Here you can see Mick, he's the production team, and our lovely bar from Afro Rainbow Austria. And now we are outside, I hope you still can hear me. So now —

Shaunak: We can hear you, yes.

[01:32:08] [Camera shifts to the artwork hanging outside the Garage Grande building]

Maria: We can look at the amazing art pieces. I cannot hear you right now, but yeah.

Khanya: Oohie! This is gorgeous.

Maria: Can they see us? Yes?

Khanya: Yeah!

Maria: Now I can hear you.

Khanya: Ah, this is beautiful. Thank you so much.


Maria: So, yeah, it's hanging in Vienna. [Indistinct] The internet and the art pieces. [Laughs]

[01:32:50] [Camera shifts to audience members looking up at the artwork.]

Khanya: I wish I could scream like a girl, but I can't — cause I feel like I want to.

[Shaunak laughs]

Shaunak: Yeah, it's so gorgeous to be occupying this public space, uh, that, um — with — with our ideas for futurity. Uh, here's hoping these ideas are now um, manifesting, uh, into, into the future and a hundred years, um — there's gonna be some big changes.

[Shaunak laughs softly]

Khanya: I really hope people stop by, have a look at it, and just find themselves — [buffering, indistinct]. In the work, as well, across continents.

Maria: There were already people passing by and said, "wow, it looks great," and some were irritated. So it has an effect.


Khanya: I love that, too. I love the irritated response.

[01:33:38] [A small group gathers around Priyanka's piece]

Mimi: Why — why were some people irritated? What's the perspective?

Maria: That was uh, from the neighbourhood. The people came, and passed by, why we were hanging the art pieces and they asked, "what is this," and, I mean, some asked, "can you hang it a little bit lower," just that, that they can see it better.


[01:34:09] [The camera pans across the Garage]

Maria: And some said uh, yeah, they just asked questions, not — so they — they haven't been um, upset or anything, but they were, some of them were irritated. But some said, "wow, that's great, so colourful," and yeah. Just random comments from the neighbours.

Khanya: I love that.


[01:34:44] [Screen changes to Maria back inside the Garage. Pink lights flicker around her.]

[01:34:54] [View changes back to the artwork outside the Garage]

Maria: Yeah, and the, um, the art pieces will hang there until the twentieth of September and maybe longer. So, actually, of course uh — of course until the end of the festival. And probably also afterwards. But we don't know it yet.


Vidisha: [Whispering] But we want them back.

Maria: You want them back?

[Vidisha and Shaunak laugh loudly]

Vidisha: I thought I was on mute!

Shaunak: We'd be happy for them to hang as long as the space is there.

Maria: That's great, yeah.

Shaunak: Yeah, so more people can see them, for sure.


Khanya: Ah, very honoured to be a part of this. Thank you so much for bringing me upon. It's been fantastic.

Shaunak: Thank you so much, everyone. It's just been such a joy to spend time with y'all.

Khanya: Ah!

[Light applause]

Khanya: I would bring my family to see this, but there's seven people in this house.

[01:35:49] [Shaunak and Vidisha appear on screen]

Vidisha: [Laughing] I think you should do it.

Shaunak: Yeah! Bring them!

[Overlapping conversation]


[01:35:55] [Khanya appears on screen. He has short dark hair and brown skin.]

Khanya: They would scream and shout.

[01:35:59] [Shaunak and Vidisha smile encouragingly]

Shaunak: Yeah!

[Overlapping conversation]

Shaunak: We wanna see them! [Laughs]

Vidisha: [Indistinct]

Khanya: Okay, let me go get them.

[01:36:07] [Khanya stands up, takes his earbuds out and walks off camera]

Karan: Yeah, get them!

[01:36:08] [Karan smiles on screen.]


Vidisha: So cute. They have to stay outside.

[01:36:14] [Vidisha and Shaunak on screen.]

Shaunak: Can we, the — yeah, the video outside for a little bit longer?

Vidisha: So Khanya's family can see it.

Shaunak: We can all take in the work being up, all this — all the effort being uh, manifested. [Laughs]

Khanya: [Indistinct]

[01:36:33] [Khanya appears on screen, inviting his family members into the room.]

Khanya: But they can come see. You can even stand behind me, if you want. So mine is up there.

Children: Ooooh!

[Overlapping conversation]

[01:36:42] [Shaunak appears on screen, gestures]

Shaunak: Can we go upwards on the camera?

[01:36:48] [Khanya laughs on screen.]

Child, off screen: Yay! It looks huge.

Khanya: It is, it's really big! It's really really huge. It's in Vienna right now.

Family member, off screen: Let's go to Vienna to go see it.

Khanya: You wanna go to Vienna?

Shaunak: Yeah!

Khanya: [Playfully] Let's go to Vienna.

[Shaunak and Vidisha laugh]

[Khanya laughs]


Khanya: Thank you so much.


Khanya: Yeah? Yeah they — [indistinct]. Part of me.


Khanya: Oh, this is wonderful, thank you so much.  

[Sound of screenshot being taken]

Khanya: I really hope we do get pictures of the space, as well.


[01:37:24] [Jonathan appears on screen. He has light brown skin and long dark curly hair. He is wearing a colourful outfit with black lipstick and has black sclera contacts.]

Jonathan: Same, I would love for photos to be sent.

Khanya: Yeah, I'd love some photos.

[01:37:30] [Khanya's video buffers]

[01:37:34] [Vidisha and Shaunak smile on screen]

Shaunak: Yeah, I'm sure the festival team will send us some photos when they —

[01:37:37] [Khanya buffers on screen]

Khanya: I also have some — [indistinct]. As well. Yeah, perfect.


[01:37:47] [Screen changes to view of the artwork outside of Garage Grande.]

Maria: Um, I think we are going offline now on Facebook, we can still stay a little bit in the —

Khanya: That's wonderful.

Maria: Or you can stay in the Zoom, and we make — maybe some music here, and have a drink at the bar. Um. But yeah, we say bye to our Facebook viewers now. And maybe like one last wave and applause to everyone.

[01:38:05] [Presentation slide with Jonathan's illustration and credits for the artist talk. Text, "Party at the End of Gender Normativity." In German, "Moderation — Maira Caizexeta, Live-Regisseur — Sebastian Frankenberger, Kamera — Martha Tretter, eine Produktion von hybrid-erlebnis [dot] com." English translation: "Moderation — Maira Caixeta, Live director — Sebastian Frankenberger, Camera — Martha Tretter, a production of hybrid-erlebnis [dot] com."]



Khanya: Thank you everyone from Facebook for engaging. The comments have been nothing but praise, it has been beautiful to see.
[End of transcript]