Gender identity and feminist theory -- "I would like to say that the content in this show references these issues in a subtle way. What I am more interested in, is the dialog that happens afterwards or before," says curator and INKUB8 artist resident Liz Ferrer about Spectual Sextrum: Audio/Visual "Queer" 'Lecture', a multi-layered and multi-genre-approached lecture concerning radicalism and homosexuality and their seeming lack of connection within South Florida proper. Knowing that this project alone will not resolve issues but rather invite dialogue and continued exploration, it "is performative research for new pieces" she will conceptualize in the coming months.
Fueled by a recent performance by New York-based artist Kalan Sherrad, which involved music and dancing wearing very little clothing and a nude bra in front of the infamous "God hates fags" Westboro Baptist Church, as well as Ferrer's own questions concerning radicalism within Miami's art scene, this "lecture" goes beyond the droll and academic rigor of speakers and panels for an inclusive frontal attack on the senses.
"When I think of South Florida as a whole, I don't think about a huge queer or radical scene. Even in the gay scene here, there seems to be disparities within that community. I have been seeing a tiny bit more 'queer content' in the art scene, but not as much as in cities like NYC, New Orleans, and Baltimore." Ferrer's path towards this opening salvo into gender-related political discourse within the arts is also taking its notes from a recent publication by Philip Boroff, "Art World Bias by the Numbers" in Art News.
The idea of gender disparity in the art world still being a "thing" in need of address cemented her resolve to create content that brings awareness. South Florida's relationship with her homosexual citizenry has been tempestuous at best. With South Beach a relative "zone" for queerness to develop, it has long been more about the pomp and circumstance of monetizing the culture for tourism than for creating identity and equality. On the other hand, the constant flux of immigrant waves has lent differentiating attitudes towards homosexuality that are at times indicative of retrogressive thought. Machismo as it meets its Puritanical ideological sibling within the states can be confusing and repressive at best.
This, of course, opens a fertile ground for queer radicalism to burgeon. In Ferrer's opinion, locals already at the front of exploring the systematic necessity for this cause and effect are poet/writer Neil de la Flor, performance artist David Rohn, and conceptual artist Misael Soto, as well as Hialeah's finest Juleisy y Karla.
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With Spectual Sextrum being a "gestural" lecture inspired by gender identity and feminist theory, Soto will VJ a set with a curated musical score by New Times' contributing writer Monica Uszerowicz, de la Flor and JV Portela of Reading Queer contributing poetry, a musical performance by Dracula and a presentation of 1936's Tod Browning film, The Devil Doll selected by Stefanie Del Papa. Will decades of theorizing on gender issues boil down to one quick answer? Will the relative struggles of a radical queer scene trying to emerge come to a heated test? More than likely not, but the conversation has to start somewhere and within the "spectual sextrum," is as good a place as any.
Spectual Sextrum: Audio/Visual "Queer" 'Lecture' at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23, at INKUB8, 2021 NW First Place, Miami. This is a free event and it starts on time. Call 305-482-1621 or visit inkub8.org.