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Darling of the Month: Luan Pertl and the “Mercury Rising” space station

1. August 2022

Luan’s history with the Schwules Museum is as rich in content, as Luan’s work and participation within the community. Here Luan tells us about the innocent beginnings of this story as well as the exciting highlights, and shows us a monumental treasure for this month.

“It gave us a shared space to feel connected again. Creating connexion is very important to the inter* community.”

Please introduce yourself briefly: where are you from, what do you do, what’s on your mind, Luan?

My name is Luan Pertl. I am an intersex activist in Germany and Austria and ich do educational work for nursing facilities, midwives, schools, etc. And I initiated and co-curated the exhibition „Mercury Rising – Inter* Hermstory[ies] Now and Then“ at the Schwules Museum. At the moment I am primarily a guide at the Schwules Museum.

That’s quite a few roles you are taking care of at the house. How did you get involved with the Schwules Museum?

I got to know the Schwules Museum very early. It was still on Mehringdamm! I originally come from Austria and have visited Berlin many times. The Schwules Museum was always a place where I went and looked at the community’s exhibitions. So in principle, I actually arrived as a guest. When I then moved to Berlin in 2018, I already had relatively many friends who had been or worked at the Gay Museum. They were volunteers or made exhibitions there. There was after that this announcement to apply as a guide and I just did it.

Wow, the Museum really has a history with you! Do you have a special memory with the Museum that you think about often?

Mhm… I have a lot of different memories. Of course, my own exhibition is one of them, that was an incredibly great experience! Working with the house, working with Carina and Birgit, and of course with all the great artists. But one of the first big memories that really touched me was the exhibition “Homosexualität_en”. It picked me up on many levels, and not just because trans* and inter* topics were included. What really touched me was the room about the people who died in the Second World War. It was so strong that it really triggered a lot of feelings in me. It made me realize how much history can be shown through exhibitions, and with how much emotion.

I think it’s great that you curated your own exhibition afterwards! While we’re on the topic of the Mercury Rising exhibition… you brought us an object from it as well, feel free to tell us more about your Darling!

That’s right! I would like to present our space station in the exhibition “Mercury Rising” by Giegold & Weiß. We created it together with many inter*activists. It has many layers of meanings, but especially interesting is the audio space we created in this space. This audio room was conceived in which we conducted interviews with inter*activists worldwide. There were interviews for Allies to listen to on one side. On the other side, there was an audio room made just for inter*people. The important thing about this audio program for inter*people was that this audio room ran in a loop. So that was designed so that every inter*person that came into this space station would hear the same thing at the same time. You could access this space from anywhere in the world with a QR code that we also shared in the community. It gave us a shared space to feel connected again. Creating connexion is very important to the inter* community.

So, on what level do you feel most deeply connected to your Darling?

Well, I’m also part of the interviews. I collaborated and co-conceived a lot with Giegold & Weiss. The importance of it for me was just this connection of the inter*community. We are a worldwide community that is strongly networked globally. Unfortunately, our exhibition ran during Covid, it was therefore difficult for many inter* people to come. This Inter*Only soundtrack was the possibility to share this exhibition – not only in pictures – but also in the feeling of togetherness with the community. That’s a very powerful connection for me.

If you could give your Darling to one person, who would that gift go to and why?

For the Inter*Community, the internet was very important. It was a way for people who for many years believed they were alone and there was no one else like them; which is what we hear a lot from medicine! That’s where the Internet has played an crucial role. This has created connections and meetings – even international meetings. So I’d like to send this Darling not to just one person, but to the worldwide intersex* community!

But that’s a lot!

It’s a lot, I know! (laughs)

But it’s the most beautiful gift.

Exactly, this is my gift!