Summer Institute 2022 – Transiting the Queer Uncommons (2-26 May 2022)

A queer rainbow made of ripped construction paper

Public Events Program 

Inspired by radical new poetic methods of digital and intermedial storytelling, transgressive visual techniques emerging from new media platforms, and new activisms engaging with theories of homonationalism, pinkwashing and a global queer (un)commons, the QSI offers students immersion in the debates, voices, ideas and images of the current queer/trans digital moment. The Institute features two, interconnected graduate courses: THST 6350: Performing the Queer (Un)commons, taught by Mary Bunch and FILM 5020: Global Queer Cinemas Confront the Pink Line, taught by John Greyson.

Co-presented by the Queer Summer Institute in Research Creation and Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology. Thank you to our partners and sponsors: SSHRC, The Hemispheric Encounters Partnership Grant, VISTA, Peripheral Visions Co-Lab, AMPD’s Office of the Associate Dean of Research, TIFF, Pleasuredome, the ArQuives, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Experience York. Banner photo by Katie Rainbow on

Members of the public are invited to join the group for several open events.

Most of the events will be simultaneously live streamed via Zoom.

3 May 2-4:30PM @ Moving Media Studio Cinespace (HYBRID: 777 Kipling Ave, Suite 300
Etobicoke/ ZOOM Link)
“Networked Intimate Publics for Nested Inquiry Projects (NIPs2 ): Trans-Feminist & Queer Heavy Processing & the Case of the Cabaret Commons”: T.L Cowen & Jas Rault

What kinds of small-world-facing methods do we need to make big-world-facing (wide wide world/world wide web) projects? In this presentation we discuss the ways that we have developed relationship-based processes and protocols for trans- feminist and queer artists, audiences, activists and researchers, in our digital research environment, the Cabaret Commons. In particular, we will discuss the early work of the Cabaret Commons Critical Project (CCCP) and decade-long process to build the Cabaret Commons Exhibition Place (CCXP).

T.L. Cowan (she/they) is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Arts Culture and Media (UTSC) and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, as well as a cabaret and video artist. Her creative-research practice moves between page, stage, and screen, including the work of her alter-ego, Mrs. Trixie Cane and the I Disown You Right Back campaign. Cowan’s research focuses on cultural and intellectual economies and networks of minoritized digital media and performance practices. Notable commissions for their creative-critical work include the PlugIn Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg, Queens Museum in New York City, and Nuit Blanche in Toronto. She is currently completing two monographs, Transmedial Drag and Other Cross-Platform Cabaret Methods, and The Needs of Others: Trauma, Media & Disorder. In 2022-23 Cowan will be a faculty fellow of the Queer & Trans Research Lab (QTRL) in Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, initiating a new research project, “Assisted Living in the Life of the Mind: Building Trans- Feminist & Queer Mental Health and Accessibility Networks in the University.” Cowan’s most recent essays are published in Moving Archives (2020), The Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities & Art History (2020), American Quarterly (2020) First Monday (2018), Liminalities: A Journal of Performance Studies (2016), More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women (2016, edited by Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars) and as part of Alexandra Juhasz’s #100 Hard Truths. Cowan is also a co-director of the Critical Digital Methods Institute and a co-author of the Feminist Data Manifest-No.

Jas Rault (they/them) is an Assistant Professor of Media Studies in the Department of Arts, Culture, Media (UTSC) and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Jas’s research focuses on trans- feminist and queer digital praxes and protocols; media histories of settler coloniality, white supremacy and sexuality; aesthetics and affects of social movements. Recent publications include “Window Walls and Other Tricks of Transparency: Digital, Colonial and Architectural Modernity” (American Quarterly); “White Noise, White Affects: Filtering the Sameness of Queer Suffering (Feminist Media Studies); “Ridiculizing Power: Relajo and the Affects of Queer Activism in Mexico” (Scholar & Feminist Online). Rault’s first book is Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In (Ashgate/Routledge) and they’re currently working on a book, provisionally entitled Open Secrets: Technologies of Whiteness in Decline, about the ambient media of white cruelty — the sound, architecture and interface designs that try so hard to make the violences of settler colonial whiteness feel like comfort, justice and good taste. Rault is also a co-director of the Critical Digital Methods Institute and a co-author of the Feminist Data Manifest-No.

Together Cowan & Rault hold two SSHRC Insight Grants: “Networked Intimate Publics: Feminist and Queer Practices of Scale, Safety and Access,” (2019-2024); and “Digital Research Ethics Collaboratory: Building Praxes and Protocols for Trans Feminist Queer (TFQ) Digital Research and Design” (2022-2027), as well as numerous other awards. In addition to the Cabaret Commons, Cowan and Rault co-direct another online research site: the Digital Research Ethics Collaboratory (DREC). They are also co-editors of a “Metaphors as Meaning and Method in Technoculture,” a special section of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience (Fall 2022) and a book entitled Heavy Processing, about trans- feminist and queer digital research methods and ethics (under contract with Punctum Books). You can see early versions of Heavy Processing on DREC.

4 May 4:30-6:00 PM @ Nat Taylor Theatre (HYBRID: N102 Ross Building, York U. / ZOOM Link)
TransAmericas Digital Performance moderated by Laura Levin: Stephen Lawson & Elyla Sinverguneza; Archer Pachewis & Thirza Cuthand

Stephen Lawson is an artist, activist and educator with two decades of experience creating interdisciplinary approaches within the fields of live art, music, print, transmission arts, installation and video. He was a co-founder of the Winnipeg based performance troupe PRIMUS and his work as a director includes radical multi-disciplinary creations with artists such as Jess Dobkin. Stephen performs internationally with Montreal musician and poet Alexis O’Hara and since 2001 he has been collaborating with artist Aaron Pollard, creating and touring transmedia performances, installations and videos under the moniker throughout Canada, Central and South America, and Europe.

Nicaraguan performance artist, researcher, and activist Fredman Barahona, also known as Elyla Sinvergüenza, explores through their work the intersections and complexities of identity, sexuality, body politics, and cultural borders. In particular, they focus on “transvestism, fleeting identities and gender bending expressions in indigenous/mestizo rituals in the Americas.” Currently in an artist residency in Costa Rica, Barahona has long experienced violence both from being queer and an activist, but they find the present situation in Nicaragua to be even harder to respond to, as the number of attacks against activists and protesters continue to rise. Even though the deteriorating conditions in Nicaragua forced them to leave the country for their security, Barahona is pursuing several art projects that delve into the challenges that Nicaraguan students, activists, and the LGBTQ community are facing both in the country and abroad. Although Barahona uses different media in their work, they are primarily a performance artist relying on photography, video, and installation. Influenced by their education in social anthropology, theater, and contemporary art, they create performance pieces as an ongoing interaction with their audience that includes many layers of interpretation. Their creative approach is based “on attending rituals, visiting site specific locations and questioning the political context utilizing transvestism or travestismo as a weapon for political action aiming for social change. Although not all my performances or artivist projects involve transvestism.”

Performance artist, new media artist, filmmaker, writer, curator and educator Archer Pechawis was born in Alert Bay, BC in 1963. He has been a practicing artist since 1984 with particular interest in the intersection of Plains Cree culture and digital technology, merging “traditional” objects such as hand drums with digital video and audio sampling. His work has been exhibited across Canada and in Paris France, and featured in publications such as Fuse Magazine and Canadian Theatre Review. Archer has been the recipient of many Canada Council, British Columbia and Ontario Arts Council awards, and won the Best New Media Award at the 2007 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and Best Experimental Short at imagineNATIVE in 2009. Archer works extensively with Native youth as part of his art practice, teaching performance and digital media for various organizations and in the public school system. Of Cree and European ancestry, he is a member of Mistawasis First Nation, Saskatchewan.

Thirza Jean Cuthand was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1978, and grew up in Saskatoon. Since 1995 she has been making short experimental narrative videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity and love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals internationally, including the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversity in Sao Paolo, ImagineNATIVE in Toronto, Ann Arbour Film Festival, Images in Toronto, Berlinale in Berlin, New York Film Festival, Outfest,and Oberhausen International Short Film Festival. His work has also exhibited at galleries including the Remai in Saskatoon, The National Gallery in Ottawa, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, MoMA in New York, and The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. They completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Film and Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her Masters of Arts in Media Production at X University in 2015. She has made commissioned work for Urban Shaman and Videopool in Winnipeg, Cinema Politica in Montreal, VIMAF in Vancouver, and Bawaadan Collective in Canada. In 2020 he completed working on a 2D video game called A Bipolar Journey based on his experience learning and dealing with his bipolar disorder. It can be found here. She has also written three feature screenplays and has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Queer City Cinema’s Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. In 2017 she won the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. They have made 32 videos and films and counting. Currently she has a feature film in development. They are a non-binary Butch boy who uses She/They/He pronouns. They are of Plains Cree and Scots descent, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and currently reside in Toronto, Canada.

Laura Levin is Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance Studies and Associate Dean, Research in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design.
She teaches courses on contemporary theatre and performance art, devised theatre, and practice-based research. Her research focuses on site-specific, immersive, and urban intervention performance; performing gender and sexuality; activist and political performance; performance, human rights, and environmental justice; intermedial and digital performance; research-creation methodologies; and performance theory. She is Associate Editor of Canadian Theatre Review (former Editor-in-Chief) and Co-Editor of Performance Studies in Canada (with Marlis Schweitzer)—winner of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research’s (CATR) 2018 Patrick O’Neill Award for Best Edited Collection. She is Editor of Theatre and Performance in Toronto and Conversations Across Borders, a collection of dialogues on performance, politics, and border culture with performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Laura has also edited special issues of journals on a wide range of topics: performance art, performing politicians, performance and space, digital performance, performing publics, choreographies of public assembly, and more. She is author of Performing Ground: Space, Camouflage, and the Art of Blending In, winner of the CATR’s 2015 Ann Saddlemyer Award for best book in English or French, and currently writing a book on performance and political culture in Canada. Laura has worked as a director, dramaturg, and performer on a number of performances in North America and co-curated research-creation projects that investigate intersections of art, geography, archives, and digital technologies. Examples include staging performance art works at international festivals (e.g. TALIXMXN with Jess Dobkin at the Encuentro Performance Festival in Mexico City, 2019), art installations at museums (e.g. MetroARCADE at the Bata Shoe Museum, co-curated with Shauna Janssen, Stephen Lawson, and Aaron Pollard, 2016), and activist performance interventions with the feminist art collective, the Queen’s Beavers (with Kim McLeod and Helene Vosters). She is currently serving as dramaturg for Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective, a performance art exhibition slated to open in fall 2020 at the Art Gallery of York University. Laura is Principal Investigator for Hemispheric Encounters: Developing Transborder Research-Creation Practices (2020-2027 SSHRC Partnership Grant), a project that brings together a group of universities, community organizations, artists, and activists across Canada, the US, and Latin America to study “hemispheric performance” as a research-creation methodology, a pedagogical strategy, and a tool for social change. This work builds on earlier SSHRC-funded research conducted by the Canadian Consortium on Performance and Politics in the Americas for which she served as Co-Investigator (PI Peter Kulchyski), a research initiative that assembled Canadian researchers studying political performance and linked them to the activities of NYU’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics. Laura is also co-curator, with Marlis Schweitzer, of the Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series, which emerged out of the SSHRC-funded Performance Studies (Canada) Project, an ongoing collaborative study that seeks to explore how cultural conditions have produced alternative articulations of “performance” in Canadian contexts.

4 May 7:00-10:00 @ Nat Taylor Theatre (N102 Ross Building, York U.)
Master Class with Chase Joynt: The Making of Framing Agnes with moderator Casey Mejica

Chase Joynt is a director and writer whose films have won jury and audience awards internationally. His debut documentary feature, Framing Agnes, premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it won the NEXT Innovator Award and the NEXT Audience Award. With Aisling Chin-Yee, Chase co-directed No Ordinary Man, a feature-length documentary about jazz musician Billy Tipton, which was presented at Cannes Docs 2020 as part of the Canadian Showcase of Docs-in-Progress. Since premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2020, No Ordinary Man has been hailed by The New Yorker as “a genre unto itself” and Indiewire as “the future of trans cinema.” The film has won 9 awards on the international festival circuit, including being named to TIFF Canada’s Top Ten. Joynt’s first book You Only Live Twice (co-authored with Mike Hoolboom) was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist and named one of the best books of the year by The Globe and Mail and CBC. Most recently, he directed episodes of Two Sentence Horror Stories for the CW, which are now streaming on Netflix. With Samantha Curley, Chase runs Level Ground Productions in Los Angeles.

Agnes, the pioneering, pseudonymized, transgender woman who participated in Harold Garfinkel’s gender health research at UCLA in the 1960s, has long stood as a figurehead of trans history. In this rigorous cinematic exercise that blends fiction and nonfiction, director Chase Joynt explores where and how her platform has become a pigeonhole. Framing Agnes endeavors to widen the frame through which trans history is viewed — one that has remained too narrow to capture the multiplicity of experiences eclipsed by Agnes’. Through a collaborative practice of reimagination, an impressive lineup of trans stars (Zackary Drucker, Angelica Ross, Jen Richards, Max Wolf Valerio, Silas Howard, and Stephen Ira) take on vividly rendered, impeccably vintage reenactments, bringing to life groundbreaking artifacts of trans healthcare. Joynt’s signature form-rupturing style radically reenvisions the imposition of the frame on the cultural memory of transness through his brilliantly crafted, communally-driven excavation. This reclamation tears away with remarkable precision the myth of isolation as the mode of existence of transgender history-makers, breathing new life into a lineage of collaborators and conspirators who have been forgotten for far too long. – Sundance Film Festival

Casey Mecija is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies and holds a PhD from the University of Toronto. Her current research theorizes sounds made in and beyond Filipinx diaspora to make an argument about a “queer sound” that permeates diasporic sensibilities. Her work suggests that media production enables diasporic people to create forms of belonging that defy racialized ascriptions born from racism, colonialism and their gendered dimensions. She is also a musician and filmmaker, whose work has received a number of accolades and has been presented internationally. Mecija has a history of employment in radio and television production, and co-founded “From Song to Studio,” a mentorship program with Regent Park School of Music.

5 May 11:00-1:30 @HYBRID ATK 102F (Atkinson building, York U.)/ ZOOM Link
Co-sensing with radical tenderness: composting tools workshop with Vanessa Andreotti

Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures is an arts/research collective that works at the interface of two sets of questions: questions related to historical, systemic and ongoing violence and questions related to the unsustainability of our current (exploitative, expropriative and extractive) modern-colonial habits of being. Drawing on (non-Western) psychoanalytical insights we collaborate on intellectual, affective, relational, land-based, artistic and embodied experiments that invite us to sit with what is good, bad, broken and messed up of humanity within and around us. We prioritize the creation of spaces, processes, practices, maps and methodologies that can support the development of our collective capacity to dis-invest from modern-colonial entitlements and conditioned desires and to build stamina to hold space for difficult and painful things without feeling overwhelmed, immobilized or demanding quick fixes or to be rescued from discomfort. In this workshop we will experiment with a set of embodied exercises based on the text “co-sensing with radical tenderness”co-created by Dani d’Emilia, Vanessa Andreotti, Sarah Amsler and Azul (Carolina Duque).

Vanessa Machado de Oliveira Andreotti (she/her) is a Latinx professor at the University of British Columbia. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Race, Inequalities, and Global Change. She began her career as a teacher in Brazil in 1994 and has since led educational and research programs in countries including the UK, Finland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, Brazil, and Canada. Professor Andreotti works across sectors in international and comparative education, particularly focusing on global justice and citizenship, Indigenous and community engagement, sustainability, and social and ecological responsibility. Her research examines relationships between historical, systemic, and on-going forms of violence, and the inherent unsustainability of modernity. Andreotti is one of the founding members of the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures artist/research collective ( and Teia das 5 Curas, an international network of Indigenous communities mostly in Canada and Latin America. She currently collaborates with with these groups to direct research projects and learning initiatives related to global healing and wellbeing in times of unprecedented challenges. Professor Andreotti is the author of the book, Hospicing Modernity: Facing Humanity’s Wrongs and the Implications for Social Activism (2021).

5 May 2-4:30PM @ Nat Taylor Theatre and Zoom (HYBRID: N102 Ross Building / ZOOM Link)
Queer Apartheid: Zackie Achmat, Tim McCaskell & Sa’ed Ashtan

Zackie Achmat has been a socialist political activist since he joined the 1976 Student Revolt against the Apartheid state.

Tim McCaskell is a long-time gay activist. He worked on The Body Politic, the Right to Privacy Committee after the 1981 police raids on gay baths, the Simon Nkodi Anti-Apartheid Committee, AIDS ACTION NOW! and Queers Against Israeli Apartheid. His first book, Race to Equity, a history of the struggle for equity in Toronto public schools, is widely used in teacher education. Tim is also the author of Queer Progress: From Homophobia to Homonationalism.

Dr. Sa’ed Atshan joined the Emory Anthropology faculty in Fall 2021. He has served as an Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Swarthmore College, as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Senior Research Scholar in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. He earned a Joint PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies (2013) and MA in Social Anthropology (2010) from Harvard University, a Master in Public Policy (MPP) (2008) from the Harvard Kennedy School, and BA (2006) from Swarthmore College.
He is the author of Queer Palestine and the Empire of Critique (Stanford University Press, 2020). Atshan is also the coauthor, with Katharina Galor (Judaic Studies, Brown University), of The Moral Triangle: Germans, Israelis, Palestinians (Duke University Press, 2020). The German translation of The Moral Triangle is entitled Israelis, Palästinenser und Deutsche in Berlin: Geschichten einer komplexen Beziehung(De Gruyter, 2021). His forthcoming book, Paradoxes of Humanitarianism: The Social Life of Aid in the Palestinian Territories, is under contract with Stanford University Press in their Anthropology of Policy Series. And his forthcoming coedited volume (with Katharina Galor), Reel Gender: Palestinian and Israeli Cinema, will be published with Bloomsbury in fall 2022. Atshan has recently embarked on two new projects. One is researching the convergent and divergent experiences of African-American and Palestinian Quakers, with an emphasis on the intersection of race and Christianity in the United States and Israel/Palestine. This project is entitled, “Can the Subaltern Quaker Speak?: Alienation and Belonging among Black and Palestinian Friends.” The other, “Queer Imaginaries and the Re-Making of the Modern Middle East,” is in collaboration with Phillip Ayoub (Diplomacy and World Affairs, Occidental College). Atshan and Ayoub are researching LGBTQ activism across the Middle East and North Africa region.

9 May 2:30 – 4 pm @ Virtual (ZOOM Link)
Mark Gevisser and Michael Bashaija: Queer and Transgender Identity in a Digital Age

To research The Pink Line, Mark travelled to over twenty countries, with the help of an Open Society Fellowship. His journalism on the new global discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity has appeared in The Guardian, Granta, and The New York Times. Mark’s other books include the prize-winning A Legacy of Liberation: Thabo Mbeki and the Future of the South African Dream, and Lost and Found in Johannesburg: A Memoir.
Mark is one of South Africa’s foremost writers. Among his current gigs is a review-essay column, The Monthly Review, in the South African Business Day. He is currently researching and writing about the COVID 19 pandemic, and the climate crisis, and continues to write about The Pink Line globally, and about South African politics, culture and society. Mark was born in Johannesburg in 1964, and graduated from Yale in 1987 with a degree magna cum laude in comparative literature. He worked in New York, as a high school teacher and writing for Village Voice and The Nation, before returning to South Africa in 1990 to work as a journalist, mainly for the celebrated anti-apartheid newspaper, the Mail & Guardian. Mark’s book, Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred (also known as A Legacy of Liberation) won the 2008 Alan Paton Prize in South Africa. Both this and his next book, Lost and Found in Johannesburg, won the Recht Malan Prize in South Africa and were shortlisted for the Jan Michalski Prize for World Literature. Mark’s other books are the pathbreaking Defiant Desire, Gay and Lesbian Lives In South Africa (1994), which he co-edited with Edwin Cameron, and Portraits of Power: Profiles in a Changing South Africa, a 1998 collection of his celebrated political profiles from the Mail & Guardian. He has also published widely, in anthologies, on sexual politics, culture, art, literature and urbanism in South Africa. Mark was a 2018 Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Resident. He has also been a Writing Fellow at the University of Pretoria and at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER), and a Carnegie Equity Fellow at Wits University. Since 2018, he has been a judge on the Gerald Kraak Award for writing on gender, human rights and sexuality in Africa. Mark’s feature-length documentary, The Man Who Drove With Mandela, made with Greta Schiller, has been broadcast internationally, and won the Teddy Documentary Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 1999. The film is an excavation of the life of Cecil Williams, the South African gay communist theatre director. Mark has also written scripts for the South African drama series Zero Tolerance; his scripts were short-listed for SAFTA and Emmy awards. Mark has also worked as an exhibition curator: he co-led the team that developed the heritage, education and tourism components of Constitution Hill, and co-curated the Hill’s permanent exhibitions. Other exhibition projects have included Joburg Tracks, an exploration of sexual identity in Johannesburg. Mark is an experienced writing teacher and coach, and has conducted narrative non-fiction workshops in South African universities and newsrooms, and for Commonwealth Writers and Kwani! in East Africa. Mark lives outside Cape Town, South Africa, with his longterm partner and their two dogs, Porridge and Sugar.

Michael Bashaija is a LGBTQI+ rights activist, inspirational speaker and writer.

11 May 9-11PM @ TIFF Cinema 4 (350 King St W, Toronto)
FLUIDØ screening with filmmaker Shu Lea Cheang, Q&A Moderated by Michelle Mohabeer

Set in the post-AIDS future of 2060, where the Government is the first to declare the era AIDS FREE, mutated AIDS viruses give birth to ZERO GEN – humans that have genetically evolved in a very unique way. These gender fluid ZERO GENs are the bio-drug carriers whose white fluid is the hypernarcotic for the 21st century, taking over the markets of the 20th century white powder high. The ejaculate of these beings is intoxicating and the new form of sexual commodity in the future. The new drug, code named DELTA, diffuses through skin contact and creates an addictive high. A new war on drugs begins and the ZERO GEN are declared illegal. The Government dispatches drug-resistant replicants for round-up arrest missions. When one of these government android’s immunity breaks down and its pleasure centers are activated, the story becomes a tangled multi-thread plot and the ZERO GENs are caught among underground drug lords, glitched super agents, a scheming corporation and a corrupt government. Check yourself in as a fluid junkie for a super hyper viral ride.

Shu Lea Cheang is an artist and filmmaker whose work aims to re-envision genders, genres, and operating structures.  She builds social interface with transgressive plots and open network that permits public participation.  As a net art pioneer, her BRANDON (1998 – 99) was the first web art commissioned and collected by New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Her feature length films, FRESH KILL(1994), I.K.U. (2000) and FLUIDø (2017), respectively termed ecocybernoia, sci-fi cyberpunk, and sci-fi cypherpunk,  defined their own genres of new queer sci-fi cinema. From homesteading cyberspace in the 90s to her current retreat to post-netcrash BioNet zone, Cheang takes on viral love, bio hack in her current cycle of works. She represented Taiwan with 3×3×6, a mixed media installation at Venice Biennale 2019. She is currently at work on UKI, a feature length Scifi Viral Alt-Reality cinema.

16 May 2:30-4:30PM @ Virtual (ZOOM Link)
Panel on South Asian Queer Cinema: Abdullah Quereshi, Leena Manimekalai, Ian Rashid

Abdullah Qureshi is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator. Rooted in traditions of abstraction, he incorporates gestural, poetic, and hybrid methodologies to address autobiography, trauma, and sexuality through painting, filmmaking, and immersive events. Through his ongoing doctoral project, Mythological Migrations: Imagining Queer Muslim Utopias, he examines formations of queer identity and resistance in Muslim migratory contexts. Qureshi has exhibited, conducted lectures, paper readings, and artist talks internationally. In 2017, Qureshi received the Art and International Cooperation fellowship at Zurich University of the Arts, and in 2018, a research fellowship at the Center for Arts, Design, and Social Research, Boston. In 2019, he joined the Centre for Feminist Research, York University, Toronto as a visiting graduate student. Qureshi is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, Espoo, and Sessional Faculty at OCAD University, Toronto.

Leena Manimekalai is a leading Tamil poet and a multiple award winning intersectional queer feminist filmmaker with a strong repertoire of films across all genres and lengths. She has been recently selected as BAFTA India Breakthrough Talent for the year 2022. Her award winning films have been widely screened across the world in about hundred prestigious international film festivals. Her work of cinema verite, ‘Sengadal/the Deadsea’ on SriLankan Tamil Refugees and Indian Fishermen won her NAWFF Award at Tokyo for the Best Asian Woman Cinema and was recognized with prestigious Indian Panorama selections after legally winning the initial ban by the Indian Censor Board. One of her documentaries on gender justice, ‘Goddesses’ has won her Golden Conch at Mumbai IFF and Nominations for Horizon Award in Munich and Asia Pacific Screen Award in Melbourne. ‘White Van Stories’ her docu-feature on enforced disappearances in SriLanka, shot entirely underground was broadcast in Channel4 and won accolades in Aljazeera IFF. Her mockumentary “Is it too much to ask ” on transgender rights co-produced with NHK Japan has already won Best Documentary Award at Singapore International Documentary Festival and Jury Mention at the Film South Asia, Nepal. Additionally, Leena has received the Charles Wallace Art Award, the EU Fellowship and the Commonwealth Fellowship for her work in Cinema and Gender. She has published five poetry collections and is currently editing her non-fiction feature ‘Rape Nation’ that traces the lives and struggles of rape survivors across the Indian Subcontinent. ‘Maadathy- an unfairy tale’, her second feature fiction on the invisiblised dalit lives started its journey with a grand opening at 24th Busan International Film Festival with a follow up of good row of festival selections and awards including FIPRESCI JURY AWARD. She is completing her second year MFA in Film at York University, Toronto as a GFAD Fellow. Leena Manimekalai will be speaking about Trans representation in Indian Cinema.

Ian Iqbal Rashid is a poet, television and film maker who works between Canada and the UK. He is known for the films Touch of Pink and How She Move and the TV series This Life and Sort Of, which has recently been nominated for a Peabody Award. Along with many festival prizes, his awards include the Writers’s Guild of Great Britain award for television writing and the Aga Khan Award for Excellence in the Arts. He was the co-founder and first director of Desh Pardesh, Canada’s seminal festival of South Asian arts and culture in the diaspora. Ian will be speaking about the notion of autobiography in his film and television work.

17 May 2:30-4:30PM @ Virtual (ZOOM Link)
Interior Decor – Media/Performance Hybrids featuring Andil Gosine, Allyson Mitchell & Moynan King

Andil Gosine is Professor of Environmental Arts and Justice at York University. His research, writing, and artistic practices explore imbrications of ecology, desire, and power. His recent book Nature’s Wild: Love, Sex and Law in the Caribbean (Duke University Press, 2021) is accompanied by a traveling exhibition of his artworks and collaborations, and he is curator of Wendy Nanan at the Art Museum of the Americas (2020-21), everything slackens in a wreck- at the Ford Foundation Gallery (2022), and Unfinished Work at the Leslie Lohman Museum (2024).

Allyson Mitchell is a maximalist artist working in sculpture, performance, installation and film. Her practice melds feminism and pop culture to investigate contemporary ideas about sexuality, autobiography and the body, largely through the use of reclaimed textile and abandoned craft. These articulations have resulted in a coven of lesbian feminist Sasquatch monsters, a room-sized Vagina Dentata, an army of super genius Holly Hobbies and a woodland utopic library complete with a wishing well of forbidden political knowledge.

Moynan King is a performer, director, curator, writer, and scholar. She was the recipient of a 2020 Canadian Screen Award for her writing on CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show on which she also made regular appearances as an actor. She is the author of six plays, the creator of performance installations and the co-creator and director of trace an interactive performance concert about the voice in gender transition. Moynan was co-founder and director of the Hysteria Festival, a multi-disciplinary festival of work by women, co-director of the Rhubarb! Festival for fours years, and she has curated multiple cabaret events including Cheap Queers. She was an Assistant Artistic Director and Associate Artist at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for a total nine years, where she developed such works as The Beauty Salon and Bathory among many others. Moynan holds a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from York University. Her critical writing on theatre and performance is widely published and she was the editor of Queer Performance: Women and Trans Artists (CTR 149), the book Queer/Play: An Anthology of Queer Women’s Performance and Plays, and co-editor of Sound & Performance (CTR 184) with Megan Johnson. She will begin a postdoctoral research fellowship on the topic of Queer Resonance at the University of Western Ontario in July.

Queer Vocality and Transtemporal Sound: This presentation focuses on trace, a sound-based performance installation, created by Tristan Whiston and Moynan King. This work addresses how sound (sound that emerges from the live meat of the body in particular) can be used as a means to extend queerness: not to “queer,” but instead to acknowledge the ways that queerness resonates outward beyond queer bodies. I will describe and analyze the performance to elucidate the frames of knowledge and representation that surround the transtemporal queer body and address the literal voices from elsewhere that are neither past nor entirely present.

17 May 9PM @ Tranzac and Zoom (HYBRID: 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto/ ZOOM Link)
Nadia Granados, COLOMBIANIZACIÓN Cabaret

@colombianizacion is a project of performance, video, social media and website, built from the review of files related to confusing violence, fostered by political elites that have transformed economic, social and cultural structures in Colombia. Audiovisual speeches and advertising products prepared by the government press agency to attract foreign investment and tourism, in which the country becomes a product and its name a brand. Colombianization emphasizes a relationship between advertising, the war that implies a large investment in deadly weapons, and the men who, to strengthen their masculinity, decide to participate in it by assuming different criminal activities.

Using the Drag King to question the systemic construction of masculine identities, Nadia Granados interprets the hitman, the soldier, the businessman, the entrepreneur, and other figures. She takes up different speeches carried out by men, to critique the propaganda of cultural discourses on terrorism, borders, migration and illegality that use the guise of the fight against drug terrorism to justify military interventions in Colombia. Using my body in combination with multi-media technologies, my artistic practice illuminates the relationships between the representation of state violence in mainstream media, institutionalized machismo, heterosexual pornography, and violence against women. My work is both performative and technological, both art and activism, and a mix of cabaret, public intervention, and video transmission. Five years ago I created La Fulminante, a character who invites her audience into the world of auto-representation and meta-pornography, using internet information strategies to condemn globalized society. La Fulminante dismantles the language used in the discourse of emancipation by bringing together in her body eroticism and social criticism. La Fulminante is a character inspired by sexually provocative stereotypes of Latin American women. She embodies erotic fantasies built by the mass media, using reggaeton and pornography. She uses her body as a tool to disseminate information, as an element of attraction to make visible alternative political strategies, a resistance against mass media and a struggle against imperialism. In 2015, I was awarded the 3rd Visual Arts Biennial Bogotá Prize Acquisition Award as well as a FONCA scholarship to create a political multimedia cabaret laboratory in Mexico. In 2013 I was selected for a Franklin Furnace Fund Award for the performance Your Car Is Clean, Your Conscience is Dirty, which I performed in New York City 2015. In 2013, I participated as an invited performer at the Hemispheric Institute’s annual meeting in Sao Paulo, and in 2012 I was invited to Canada for La Rencontre Internationale D’art Performance De Québec (RIAP), taking place throughout four cities in Canada. Additionally, my work has been presented in Canada, Venezuela, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Ecuador, Argentina, Perú, the United States, Mexico, Korea, Brazil, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Estonia, Italy, France, and Colombia.

17 May 7-10PM @ Nat Taylor and Zoom (HYBRID: N102 Ross Building, York U./ ZOOM Link)
Second Eulogy: Mind the Gap screening with filmmaker Billy Frank, Q&A Moderated by Warren Critchlow

Mind The Gap is an autobiographical de-construction and re-positioning of personal memories of the father. It gives a voice by de-contextualizing and de-constructing the mythologies and legacies of the present/absent one. 2nd Eulogy: Mind The Gap spurns personal tales of loss, longings, memories, and the phantasmagoria by interweaving fiction and non-fiction to conjure an abstract story of interconnected lives. The central tale narrates the lives of Nelson, a fisherman and father; his gay son James who is coming of age in a verdantly charged landscape; Antoinette, Nelson’s wife who embodies the island’s colonial past and Mother Country; and their maid, Josephine. Apart from telling the personal story around the father, it explores personal experiences of growing up as a gay teenager in Grenada: the ridicule; the sexual molestation; the trauma.

Billy Gerard Frank (born in Grenada) is a Multi-Media Artist, Filmmaker, and Film Curator— An autodidact living in New York. He was recently selected to represent Grenada at 58th La Biennale di Venezia 2019 and is also one of the artists in the collective representing the island at 59th La Biennale di Venezia 2022. Frank’s practices mine personal memories, political, and social histories and challenge dominant and normative discourses around them. His research-based work addresses issues of migration, race, and global politics as they relate to gender, minority status, and post-colonial subjects. He moved to London as a teenager, where he began painting and exploring experimental video art and installation before moving to New York to pursue further studies in studio art at atelier like The Art Students League of New York, The National Academy of Fine Arts, and filmmaking at The New School for Social Research. His collected, altered, and own mixed media artworks and films have been exhibited in groups and solo shows in galleries and Institutions like The Brooklyn Museum (2020) and is in several private collections and institutions like the National Academy Museum of Fine Arts and Design. Over the years, he has been an artist-in-residence at several artist residencies. Frank is also the founder of Nova Frontier Film Festival & LAB that showcases films and arts from and about the African Diaspora, the Middle East, and Latin America. As an educator, he has lectured at universities like the School of Visual Arts, New York University, and he is a Lecturer/Faculty in Design and Directing at David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University. Since 2005, after studying filmmaking and media arts at The New School University, Frank has worked as a writer, director, and production designer, in both narrative and documentary films that were screened at international film festivals, like Sundance and Berlinale. His narrative short film, Absence Of Love, which he wrote and directed, premiered at the Palm Springs International Short Film Festival, shown in over 50 international film festivals. He was nominated for a European Music Video award in the category of Production Design for his design of Warner Music Group artist. He is presently in development on two narrative feature films. Frank currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

25 May 9pm @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Zoom (HYBRID: 12 Alexander St. Toronto/ ZOOM Link)
The (Un)Common Cabaret, Directed by Stephen Lawson.

Featuring student performances.