The aesthetics of cruising extend far beyond the spaces and situations in which the hunt for sex takes place, offering itself as a means of threshold crossing, as an invitation in experimentation and empathy, and as a spiritual practice of acceptance and non-attachment. Cruising is a register of awareness, a mode of being, a gestural vocabulary replete with actions and inactions that subvert productive, normative ways of moving through space: stalling, idling, looping, back-tracking, pausing, watching, revealing, concealing, communicating non-verbally, abandoning.
Cruising exists both as subject and methodology throughout the artistic practices of both Liz Rosenfeld (Berlin) and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay (Edinburgh), expressing itself not only in media and performance works, but also as an approach to research, writing, and of course, living.
Rosenfeld and Nemerofsky meet to talk, touch, and feel their way through the diverse ways cruising intersects in their lives and practices.
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay is an artist and diarist. His artistic gestures in sound, video and text contemplate the history of song and the gender of voices, the rendering of love and emotion into language, and the resurrection and manipulation of voices – sung, spoken or screamed. In his work you will find bells, bouquets, enchanted forests, folding screens, gay elders, glitter, gold leaf, love letters, imaginary paintings, madrigals, megaphones, mirrors, naked men, sign language, subtitles, and the voices of birds, boy sopranos, contraltos, countertenors and sirens. His work is in the permanent collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, the Polin Museum for the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, Thielska Galleriet Stockholm and the National Gallery of Canada. Nemerofsky is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Edinburgh, where he is part of the Cruising the 70s: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Sexual Cultures research team.
Liz Rosenfeld is a Berlin-based artist utilising the disciplines of film, video and live performance to convey a sense of past and future histories. Rosenfeld is invested in concepts of how history can be queered and experienced through the moment and ways in which it is lived and remembered. She explores how we identify ourselves with in/out community and social poly-relationship configurations. Rosenfeld is part of the Berlin-based moving image production collective NowMomentNow and is currently the Goethe Institut Artist in Residence at LUX. During her residency, Liz will continue her creative body of research that she has been developing for the past year and a half for her first feature film, a futuristic queer speculative fiction work entitled FOXES. Central to her research are questions exploring queer dystopia, a positive embrace of human apocalypse, invisible genocide and the parallels between the way information was publicly disseminated in the early days of the AIDS/ HIV crisis, and the current state of climate change and environmental destruction.
Image: Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, Grand Audrelisque, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.
Artists Liz Rosenfeld and Imogen Heath, co-founder of the Berlin-based moving image collective nowMomentnow, explore DIY filmmaking tactics in a masterclass presented as part of Rosenfeld’s current residency with LUX and the Goethe Institut. They will present their collaborative work and show excerpts of previous films, discussing production methods and more broadly situating their practice in terms of community building and DIY strategies for making video.
Following their presentation, they will lead a two-hour collaborative video-making activity, where participants will work together to make short video portraits for a ‘video time capsule’, intersecting nowMomentnow’s love for moving image and performance. Their experimental approach to video production uses discursive, non-linear tactics to reconfigure ideas of family and queer labour.
By putting nowMomentnow’s video-making strategies and techniques into practice, participants will aim to collectively envision what the group desires to ‘record, leave behind, bury, compost, burn, destroy, transmit and transform for a queer future/present or a completely alternative space-time continuum’.
Participants are encouraged to bring fun clothing and makeup to use as costumes, objects ‘to leave for the future’ or use as props. DIY green-screen tools will be used and camera equipment provided. No previous knowledge of video production is necessary to take part.
nowMomentnow began as an experiment between friends to disrupt prevalent modes of story-telling and art-making. Working with very little resources, DIY tactics, feminist and queer discourse, an aspiration to build community as an alternative narrative of content-production, and sustainable labour and art practices, nMn has made music videos, performances, films and installation work, as well as hosted events and film productions in Berlin and internationally.
Join Berlin-based artist and current Goethe at LUX Resident, Liz Rosenfeld for an intense, physical workshop that aims to share a working practice that is central to her research. She describes this methodology (learned from dancers and choreographers Sigal Zouk and Jared Gradinger) as ‘a beautiful experience in emotional threshold crossing, togetherness and collectivity’. Her practice utilises film, video and live performance to convey a sense of past and future histories.
Rosenfeld is invested in concepts of how history can be queered and experienced through the moment and ways in which it is lived and remembered. She explores how we identify ourselves with in/out community and social poly-relationship configurations.
Workshop participants will collaborate and support one another to laugh for 1.5 hours, cry for 1.5 hours, and sit in silence for 1.5 hours. This will be followed by a group discussion about the temporality of collectivity, endurance, inner manifestations of self, and how this practice can enable participants to feel ‘seen’ and ‘unseen’.
This workshop is a safe space for queer LGBTQI, non-binary/non-gender conforming identified people. Everyone is welcome, but please come with this in mind.
Image: Liz Rosenfeld, Glimpse of Manipulated Still #3 (White Sands, New Mexico), 2017. Courtesy of the artist.
Berlin-based artist Liz Rosenfeld will present a programme of films selected from the LUX Collection, which speak to and inspire the themes that she is currently researching while serving as the inaugural Goethe Institut Artist in Residence at LUX. During her residency, Liz has continued her creative body of research that she has been developing for the past year and a half regarding the themes and characters of her first feature film, a futuristic queer speculative fiction work entitled FOXES. Central to her research are questions exploring queer dystopia, a positive embrace of human apocalypse, invisible genocide and the parallels between the way information was publicly disseminated in the early days of the AIDS/ HIV crisis, and the current state of climate change and environmental destruction. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Nicole Yip, Director of LUX Scotland, and an informal discussion with the audience.
Jenny Okun, Waves, 1978, 16mm, 3 min
Waves was hand wound though the camera backwards and forwards as the waves on a beach built up and broke on the shore.
Semiconductor, 20HZ, 2011, HD + HD 3D single channel, 5 min
20HZ observes a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Working with data collected from the CARISMA radio array and interpreted as audio, we hear tweeting and rumbles caused by incoming solar wind, captured at the frequency of 20 Hertz.
Jem Cohen, Drink Deep, 1991, SD video, 9 min
Drink Deep is a lyrical vision of friendship, hidden secrets, and desires. Cohen uses several types of film image to add texture to the layered composition. Beautiful shades of grey, silver, black and blue echo the water, reminiscent of early photography and silverprints.
Grace Ndiritu, Natural Disasters: Urban Myths, Urban Legends, 2007, SD video, 6 min
Grace Ndiritu, Natural Disasters No. 2 Tremor, 2007, SD video, 2 min 22 sec
Grace Ndiritu, Natural Disasters No. 3 Earthquake, 2007, SD video, 2 min 24 sec
In the Natural Disasters series nature is re-imagined through a game of absence and presence. Inner earthquakes and minor tremors, mirror ‘real’ disasters on a minute scale. The videos an attempt to continue the linage of environmental filmmaking started by the Koyaanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi films.
David Farringdon, Gentlemen, 1988, SD video, 15 min
‘I have tried to give a truthful picture of a taboo subject in an unbiased way, which I hope gives some reason to an occupation perceived by many as unreasonable – the gay sex/desire/frustrations in toilets.’ – David Farringdon
Barbara Hammer, Dyketactics, 1974, 16mm, 4 min
A popular lesbian ‘commercial,’ 110 images of sensual touching montages in A, B, C, D rolls of ‘kinaesthetic’ editing.
Luther Price, SODOM, 1989, 16mm, 25 min
SODOM is viscerally graphic and disturbing through its hypnotic mirage of human fragment absorbed in mutilation. Based on the biblical story, SODOM recreates this destruction through an editing style that lends itself to a kind of organic image breakdown, creating a collage of moving image.
Please note that this programme contains sexually explicit material that some audiences may find disturbing.
With thanks to Ann-Christine Simke and the Goethe-Institut.
Image: Luther Price, SODOM, 1989. Image courtesy of LUX and the artist.