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Chemsex: A Case for Gay Analysis

6. June 2019 19:00


**Unfortunately we have to reschedule today’s (06.06.2019) „Chemsex“ lecture with Kane Race due to a cancelled flight. The event will be held tomorrow Friday, June 7th at 7pm. All pre-sale tickets will still be valid. If you have any questions, please contact presse@schwulesmuseum.de. – SMU Team (06.06. 5:50 pm)

In this talk, Professor Kane Race (University of Sydney) discusses recent discourses and representations of chemsex (or gay men’s sexualised drug use) emanating from the UK, as depicted for example in Fairman & Gogarty’s documentary Chemsex from 2015. While the use of intoxicants for sex has a long and notorious history in both gay and mainstream culture, chemsex specialists differentiate their object of concern from these historical and cultural equivalents by pointing to its association with certain mediating devices, such as hookup apps, that no doubt make a difference.

Kane queries some of the generic conventions that have been used to make these activities public and intelligible for gay and mainstream viewers alike, in particular their tendency to deploy the spectacle of illicit drug use and gay kink and fetish practices to incite intrigue, excitement, disgust, horror and paternalistic concern. It can be argued that recent attempts to make chemsex public are so committed to normative intimacy that the many pleasures and possibilities associated with gay sex and drug use are only ever allowed to emerge as dangerous. A more constructive approach to the matter might be possible by approaching chemsex as a form of play; that is, a non-instrumental form of associative and experimental activity that is capable of generating new relations, subjects, care practices, forms of sociability and modes of feeling.

The evening will be moderated by Peter Rehberg (SMU) and is a collaboration with Deutsche Aidshilfe.

Kane Race is Professor of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. He has published widely in the areas of HIV, sexuality, gay culture, and drug use. He is the author of Pleasure Consuming Medicine: the queer politics of drugs (Duke UP, 2009); Plastic Water: the social and material life of bottled water (MIT Press, 2015, with Gay Hawkins and Emily Potter); and The Gay Science: Intimate experiments with the problem of HIV (Routledge, 2018).

Peter Rehberg is the Head of the Schwules Museum Archive in Berlin. He was the DAAD Associate Professor at the University of Texas Austin from 2011 until 2016 and the Max Kade Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago in early-2018.

We will show excerpts from the documentary Chemsex. The discussion will be held in English. From 7 pm at Schwules Museum. Entry: 4 Euro