Faery Voices in Queer Voice, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA

On April 22, 2010 there was an extraordinary opening for an art show at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Philadelphia: Queer Voice. Part of the University of Pennsylvania, this ICA show will be on display from April 23-August 1, 2010 and includes video, installation, audio works, and scripts.

The printed companion piece is a 180 page black and white compilation of some of the most radical queer voices writing poetry today.  I was lucky enough to attend the event with FairiesInAmerica.com poetry editor, CAConrad.  The wine flowed freely and the ICA staff provided a lovely dinner after the opening for artists who contributed to the show. Many of the queer artistic community were in attendance, including Charles Bernstein, Thomas Devaney, Albo Jeavons and Ryan Trecartin — a talented young video artist who contributed a 40 minute video to the show.

Albo Jeavons, a radical faery well-known at Short Mountain Sanctuary and among Philadelphia Faeries, contributed to the Queer Voice collection.

Albo Jeavons

The queer voice?  You’re choking on it.

Mumbling around the balls in my mouth, I sing:  do I contradick myself?  I contain multitudes — millions swimming with a fierce, blind lust for connection; for some glorious liberation, however temporary.

Give me more queer studs and less queer studies.  I’d rather fuck then switch; changing the world from top to bottom, bottom to top; the world turned upside down but this time it’s not just Carnival Day it’s Cataclysm and something so simple and beautiful that everyone can feel it.  Breathe deep and unclench that tight, unhappy bud, bud: there’s a queer hole down there, yearning in you to fill and be filled.

Every day the earth shakes or shoots a hot load; orgasm of destruction and, in the midst of tragedy and misery/catastrophe there comes, sometimes, something queer and beautiful, some inversion, some convergence, some compassion, some seductive anarchy to balm a wound that the chaos of civilization can only salt.

Queer drifts; imagining pulsar Queer and black hole Capital as lovers – binary locked in mutual orbit, sucking at each other’s substance; all of it stolen. Mopped by fabulous, larcenous queens like bowerbirds, or:  a bloody, excruciating excavation from the bodies of billions by blind, bespoke paragons of insatiable avarice.  Greedy bottoms, please; not bottomless greed and cold, deadly faux-lust.

So; please continue to dream of queer eruptions, dear friends. We are each of us a promiscuous, permeable universe spit out of star furnace and borne to hermaphrodite Terra in long-tailed space swimmers. Drink, mingle, and conspire.

CAConrad is the poetry editor of FairiesInAmerica.com. He attended the Queer Voice opening and contributed a poem to the collection.


RANCOUR COLLECTS US BY OUR THROATS the best funeral I’ve ever been to was the night we intended to cope with this love the increase is beautiful like poems by a poet who finally gave up on fear every chance every dog every where ever gets my mother would be ok I caught her having sex with my babysitter Marcy SHE’S GOT A TONGUE DOESN’T SHE my mother yelled odd and strange unless marriage and military make your favorite M words every time every eye every door ever blackened learned to hijack instead of stowaway my mother arrested for stealing a jar of honey but who will arrest the thieves of bees there is no permission there is no permission THERE IS NO PERMISSION there is only death and the life you live or are led by

Penny Arcade

“Queer means that one has endured a period of rejection, alienation, ostracization, and isolation so profound that it marks them as an outsider forever.”  Penny Arcade, 1992

Queer voices are as diverse as the people they belong to.

There is no one queer voice.

The queer voices are the voices of the outsider, the voice of the rejected one, the voice of one who was consigned to the trash bin, the voice of the one who was not invited to participate, the voice of the one who spoke a truth too razored to be heard, much less understood by the crowd, the voice of the despised, the voice of the looked down upon, the voice of the one who saw and watched and evaluated from the sidelines, the voice who grew in solitude, the voice who stood against the tide,the voice who was not included, the voice who spoke from their own experience, the voice who walked alone, the voice who stood fast in the face of ridicule, the voice who chose and accepted their own company in the face of exclusion, the voice who gave form to themselves in the face of invisibility, the voice who defended their personal truth in the presence of violence, the voice who comforted themselves in the absence of comfort, support, recognition or commiseration.  The voice that grew alone.

The queer voice is the voice that is included 20 years after they are dead because enough time and distance has passed to make their voice acceptable to those who could not have tolerated that voice in real life, the voice that is often appropriated when the speaker is no longer here to question either the interpretation or the presentation of their voice.  The more poignant question is:  Does one have the queer ears with which to hear the queer voice?

Ryan Trecartin

Filmaker extraordinaire, Ryan Recartin is one of the loveliest wonderboys of the queer movement in Philadelphia.  Though he’s not a self-identified faery, Ryan says he believes in rebirth and that many of his film narratives are derived from past lives. I caught him screaming before he emerged from a ladies room stall and later conversed with him over dinner, wine, and chocolate and took and immediate liking to him.

Here’s a link to Ryan’s film, showcased at Queer Voice, P.opular S.ky (section ish), 2009.

P.opular S.ky (section ish) from Ryan Trecartin on Vimeo.

HD video, color, sound, 40 minutes.  This film is courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York; Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Goetz Collection, Munich; and The Moore Space – Craig Robins, Rosa de la Cruz and Silvia Curbina, Miami.

Elizabeth Kirwin, editor and publisher of FairiesInAmerica.com with CAConrad, poetry editor for the website, take a break on the rooftop patio at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia.