Queer Environmental Futures, a digital residency with Sabine LeBel & Alison Taylor

Connexion Artist-Run Centre is pleased to announce the first in our series of Isolation Projects: Queer Environmental Futures, a digital residency with Sabine LeBel & Alison Taylor from May 6 to 15, 2020.

Many connections have been made between the climate crisis and COVID-19, and the apocalyptic feeling both leave us with. Queer Environmental Futures is a response to the dire “we have no future” ideas that circulate about climate change in mainstream culture. LeBel & Taylor draw on queer traditions of art and activism that evolved out of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, and confronted the queer youth suicide crisis of recent decades. These traditions offer unique perspectives on the current climate crisis: these communities know how to face “unimaginable” futures. The perspectives and the skill sets that come with it are, and will continue to be, equally important through the coming months of the COVID 19 pandemic, the isolation and grief we’re all experiencing, and the years of cultural recovery that must follow.

The artists will be taking over Connexion’s Facebook and Instagram from May 6 to 15 to share daily collaborative art projects on the theme of Queer Environmental Futures: Isolation. Every evening of the residency, they will post a theme and their own interpretation of that theme. They then invite others – anyone – to post their own project over the next few days in the comments. These projects will be low-stakes, easy and accessible, made from readily available materials around the home.

Please join us on Facebook and Instagram to follow and participate in this digital residency! Update: See a compilation of all the residency prompts below!

About the Artists:

Sabine is an educator, researcher, and artist. She works as an assistant professor at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton in the Department of Culture and Media Studies. She has been making short videos on queer themes since 1999, when she participated in the Inside Out Queer Youth Video Project in Toronto. The stories Sabine tells often deal with difficult emotions like revenge, loss, anxiety, and remorse. In 2016, with Casey Burkholder, she started the Fredericton Feminist Film Collective (FFFC). They are a collective of artists & creators & activists & humans who make, screen and talk about works by and for queers, trans folks & women from an intersectional feminist position. Among other projects, FFFC hosts workshops for queer youth and curates cellphilm screenings.

Alison is a film and video editor, writer, artist and dabbler in stand-up comedy. They have edited reality TV, feature films, music videos, shorts, and documentaries. As an editor, Alison enjoys working with the limits of technology to find new ways to tell stories. Exile Literary Quarterly published their short story “Spud Gun” (2013), and Broken Pencil Magazine will publish their story “Kenny” in the Summer 2020 issue. Alison’s first novel, “aftershock,” will be out in August, 2020.

RESIDENCY PROMPTS:

Day 1: INTRODUCTIONS. a self-portrait, whatever that means to you.

Day 2: THIRST. Today we were reading an interview with one of our favourite SF authors, NK Jemisin. We love how she talks about eating seismic energy as fuel for her novel. http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/…/interview-n-k-jemisin/

Day 3: GROUPINGS. We’re thinking about how we can gather here in New Brunswick in and out of our double bubbles, but we’re also thinking about how we group ideas together. We’ve been thinking about the comparisons that have been made between the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially as it hit queer communities in the 80s, and COVID 19. We’ve also been thinking about how COVID 19 has been talked about in terms of nature, the environment, and climate change.

Day 4: POWER. The power of snow, the power of the people, the power of words, the power grid, and power structures.

Day 5: BLUR. Blurred vision, blurred lines, blurred gender, blurred seasons, and the fucking blurriness we’re feeling every single day. The uncertainty we’re living with and our blurry view of the coming months.

Day 6: WAKING UP. Today we’re thinking about awakenings. How it’s so hard to get up in the morning. Waking up into spring. Waking up as a revelation. Spiritual awakenings. Coming into political consciousness.

Day 7: DRAG. Isolation is a drag. Shitty weather during a pandemic is drag. Not being able to be with community is a drag. Gender is a drag. Drag is an art form developed by queer communities. Today we’re drawing on the resilience of queer communities and the power of chosen families.

Day 8: DREAMS. Apparently people are having vivid dreams during the COVID19 pandemic. Dreams might be pathways to our unconscious, our desires, or the spiritual. We also talk about dreaming when someone is not being “realistic,” like “they’re just a dreamer.” Today we’re taking dreams seriously. Sex dreams. Weird dreams. We also want to think about our collective dreams. Dreams as utopic. Dreams as omens. Remember Wim Wenders’ film Until the End of the World? Let’s dream together.

Day 9: ISOLATION. The memes are right. This is not the apocalypse we’ve been waiting for. No zombies, no foraging, no wily band of survivors. Just us. Stuck at home. In isolation. If anything seems to typify this pandemic, it’s being alone together.

Day 10: FUTURES. We’re thinking about what the future holds. And we’re thinking about how COVID19 might push us towards rethinking the shitty destructive tendencies of capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy that have gotten us here.

Also see the Reading List Google doc.