- A Gay Bar Called Everywhere (with costumes and no practice) (2011/2022)
This collaborative performance project began with the idea that all of philosopher and writer Susan Sontag’s life and work took place in a gay bar. She never left the table. People come and go—styles, decades, regimes, and theories. This scene leads way to a loose formulation about performance, performativity, and theorizing the struggle and ingenuity of queer life. Ten years after its initial staging at The Kitchen, New York, the gay bar is “re-spaced” in Stockholm to think through, to perform, the myriad changes, challenges, and glories that have shaped our queer lifetimes.
A Gay Bar Called Everywhere was first performed at The Kitchen in 2011, as a site-specific piece attuned to the history of this New York performance space as an avant-garde beacon and an iconic site of fomentation. Informed by notions of queer struggle and improvisation, ideas about gender and performativity, and various modes of being a/live as a queer person, the scene of A Gay Bar Called Everywhere started with imagining a queer feminist intellectual writer—Susan Sontag—sitting at a table in the audience of a gay bar. This seat at the foot of the stage is where all their big ideas come from. From the warm, collaborative, punk, desirous, make-due vibes.
This genius, the struggle and improvisation of queer life. How the low stage of the gay bar and the responsive/reciprocal room can be the site of big ideas. How throughout queer history we’ve needed that space to try ourselves out. And then drag those gestures into the arts and streets. To be seen, to be experimental, to find mirrors in time and space.
In 2022, A Gay Bar will open its doors once again—a respacing rather than a restaging. A group of international and Stockholm-based artists, performers, writers, and curators has been invited to be on stage together in this durational process of co-creation. Since its initial staging in 2011, things have changed in countless material and manifest ways. Questions of gender and representation have exploded in popular culture. Intersectionality is as likely to be connected to self-care as to academic frameworks. It’s a new era in activism and identity. How do we think and perform now? What is the gay bar still offering? Missing? Where did it go? Contested, porous, necessary, endangered, loved.
Organized in collaboration with Moderna Museet on the occasion of the exhibition Alive Time (March 1 – April 17, 2022), a solo by Every Ocean Hughes. The exhibition is curated by Hendrik Folkerts (Curator of International Contemporary Art), in collaboration with Catrin Lundqvist (Curator of Learning).
Jeremy Atherton Lin, writer
Morgan Bassichis, artist and writer
Jibz Cameron/ Dynasty Handbag, artist
Samuel Girma, curator and activist
Salad Hilowle, artist
Every Ocean Hughes, artist
Tony Karlsson Savci, artist
Lawen Mohtadi, writer
Iris Smeds, artist and filmmaker
Will Rawls, choreographer and writer
Edwin Safari/Jafar the Superstar, artist
Derrick Woods-Morrow, artist
Evelyn T. Wang, artist
Ming Wong, artist
Arnisa Zeqo, curator and writer