The 12th and final iteration of the program 12 Moons is dedicated to Gaia, Earth, Dunia, Terra, Akna. To the extraordinary planet moving in, with, alongside and without the human. The five films presented in Moon 12: 🌍Glo-ballism🔥span an intergenerational group of filmmakers who have queered their pasts, presents and futures – and ours, as viewers – within the scope of their video, digital and film works spanning from 1973-2017. The film program features Kajsa Dahlberg, Barbara Hammer, Wanuri Kahiu, Stanya Kahn and Tabita Rezaire.
As the human teeters on the brink of it’s own extinction, images and narratives allow us to take account of how, when and where we can claim sensuality and liberation inside of phobic, racist, heterosexist, financialized, crapitalized, patriarchal and omnicidal institutional structures, paradigms and belief systems. What exactly are these things called ‘consciousness’ and ‘knowledge’ that we assign to our species – do we possess them, can we hold them, will they act upon us? From a varied array of geopolitical perspectives, these works perform the magic of framing utopias, dystopias, hyperrealities, hyperobjects and Afrofutures. With this selection of films, we might ask, “Is there anything outside of queer?”
You can’t ‘reason‘ your way to the land of the living by using the very same death logic-language specifically weaponized to strangle our perceptual and imaginative abilities. No, my friend, intuition must be your trusty steed in the quest for soul.
– Laurie Weeks for Ridykeulous, “Letter to the Hungry and Power-Hungry”, 2015
The 12th moon is curated by A.L. Steiner.
A.L. Steiner utilizes constructions of photography, video, installation, collage, collaboration, performance, writing and curatorial work as seductive tropes channeled through the sensibility of a skeptical queer ecofeminist androgyne. Steiner is co-curator of Ridykeulous, co-founder of Working Artists and the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) and collaborates with numerous writers, performers, designers, activists and artists. She is faculty at Yale University’s School of Art, and is featured in permanent collections such as the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hammer Museum and The Museum of Modern Art.
The films of the 12th program:
Stand in the Stream (USA, 2011-2017, 58 min., English) by Stanya Kahn
Stand in the Stream is an ambient, fast-paced digital film about life, death, the inextricability of the personal from the political and the primacy of the image. Following the arc of a mother’s deterioration and death amidst shifting political and digital landscapes, the film was made over the course of six years and shot on multiple camera formats to reflect our screen-saturated contemporary perspectives. Using sound and music like a body to move images, Stand in the Stream lives in the home, in the wild, in online chat rooms and the streets. From the birth of a child to the onset of dementia, from Tahrir Square to Standing Rock and Trump’s inauguration, Stand in the Stream is an urgent contemporary ode and a story for the people.
Sisters! (USA, 1973, 8 min., English) by Barbara Hammer
Combining perhaps the only footage from the first Women’s International Day march in San Francisco and rare footage of the second National Lesbian Conference at UCLA, Sisters! is a joyous and vital landmark in feminist, queer, and lesbian filmmaking. Its end credit, scratched into the emulsion of the film, attributes the film to “Agressa,” the pseudonym under which Barbara Hammer made some of her earliest films.
“It’s about women taking over the world: women driving trucks, changing Volkswagen engines, and leading the police in new revolutions! It also has footage of women topless, dancing, sweating – with babies on their shoulders! – to the music of the Family of Woman band at the second National Lesbian Conference that took place at UCLA, where Audre Lorde and Kate Millett spoke.” — Barbara Hammer
Preserved by BB Optics and the Academy Film Archive. Preservation of this film was made possible by a grant from The Women’s Film Preservation Fund. Courtesy of Barbara Hammer and Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York.
Pumzi (Kenia, 2009, 21 min., English) by Wanuri Kahiu
A Sci-Fi film about futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III ‘The Water War’. Nature is extinct. The outside is dead. Asha lives and works as a museum curator in one of the indoor communities set up by the Maitu Council. When she receives a box in the mail containing soil, she plants an old seed in it and the seed starts to germinate instantly. Asha appeals to the Council to grant her permission to investigate the possibility of life on the outside but the Council denies her exit visa. Asha breaks out of the inside community to go into the dead and derelict outside to plant the growing seedling and possibly find life on the outside.
Female Fist (Sweden, 2005, 20 min., Swedish with Engl. subtitles) by Kajsa Dahlberg
With reference to groups like the Zapatistas, the writer’s collective Wu Ming, the illusive identity of Luther Blissett, as well as many other collective and/or clandestine groups who mask their faces in order to become politically visible, the video consist of an interview with an activist from the Copenhagen queer-feminist community. Shot with the lens-cap left on the camera, the interviewee begins by describing the process of making a porn film in the lesbian activist community. This porn film project was an attempt to produce “queer” representations of sexuality and was to be distributed between women in a ”system of trust” that included the restriction that it could not be shown to any men. About halfway into the video she goes on to speak in more general terms about the creation of separatist rooms and about the possibilities for being different in today’s society. The video opens and concludes with a silent scene from a public square in Copenhagen.
Sugar Walls Teardom (South Africa, 2016, 21 min., English) by Tabita Rezaire
Sugar Walls Teardom reveals the contributions of Black womxn’s wombs to the advancement of modern medical science and technology. During slavery, Black womxn’s bodies were used and abused as commodities for laborious work in plantations, sexual slavery, reproductive exploitation and medical experiments. Anarcha, Betsey and Lucy, were among the captive guinea pigs of Dr. Marion Sims – the so called ‘father of modern gynecology’ – who tortured countless enslaved womxn in the name of science. Unacknowledged, Black womxn’s wombs have been central to the biomedical economy as the story of Henrietta Lacks – whose stolen cervix cells became the first immortal cells leading to medical breakthrough – reminds us. Biological warfare against Black womxn is still pervasive in today’s pharmaceutical industry. Sugar Walls Teardom celebrates womb technology through an account of coercive anatomic politics and pays homage to these wombs; their contributions have not been forgotten.
Program curator: Vera Hofmann
Assistance: Felix Roadkill
Scenography with Carolin Gießner und Théo Demans
Curation 12th Moon: A. L. Steiner
12 Moons is supported by the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.