Gestures and Nods digital 14
25 Nov '22 – 13.00 – 18.30
26 Nov '22 – 12.00 – 22.30
Bergen Kunsthall / Landmark
Rasmus Meyers allé 5
5015 Bergen

A Seminar on Cuir/Queer Approaches to Knowledge Sharing Through Performance

Office for Contemporary Art Norway, in collaboration with Bergen Kunsthall, is pleased to invite you to a two-day seminar curated by Itzel Esquivel, reflecting on the notion of knowledge production through performance from a cuir/queer perspective at Bergen Kunsthall, November 25th — 26th.


Inspired by Minna Salami’s reflections on the notion of sensuous knowledge, the seminar will centre artistic practices as discursive elements in their own right. The gathering will find alternate means to position narratives and ways of sharing knowledge, circumventing rigid academic models and challenging Europatriarchal knowledge structures.

Encouraged by cuir/queer methodologies, the seminar investigates ways of cuiring/queering knowledge production within art institutions through the collective experience of performance by and with invited artists and collectives who reflect around these notions. The seminar brings a cuir approach to the forefront, proposing a kaleidoscopic understanding of queerness from different points of view.

About the contributors

Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell, who join together to become an interdisciplinary art worker, explored conditions for participatory practices in territorial environments by emphasizing the sticky shivers of (self-) touching through vibrating togetherness. The transdisciplinary group La Pocha Nostra, joined by performers La Saula, Balitronica Gómez, and Gerardo Juárez, and Pocha guest artists Muza de la Luz and Cecilio Orozco are known for practicing an intense collaboration across national borders, race, gender, and generations as an act of radical citizen diplomacy and as a means for creating ephemeral communities of rebel artists. Writer, poet and social activist Mabell Holand held a poetry intervention on the topics of intersectionality, trans identity, and violence of trans bodies. Elina Waage Mikalsen explores themes of identity and exclusion, collecting stories, fragments and sounds to work around the holes in Sámi history, caused by the Norwegian assimilation process. Mikalsen hosted an off-site sonic session in Jiennagoáhti (Lyttegammen) – et kunstverk dedikert til lytting i Bergensfjellet, an art in public space project initiated by Elin Már Øyen Vister in dialogue with Bergen Samiid Searvii and Joar Nango dedicated to listening. Jiennagoáhti is co-produced by Lydgalleriet, Bergen City Council and Byfjellsforvalteren and supported by KORO, Arts Council Norway and Bergen City Council. The goáhti is constructed by Ole Muosát /Sámihouse. Jiennagoáhti will have it's official opening in February 2023.

A screening of the film Brincando el Charco: Portrait of a Puerto by Frances Negrón-Muntaner will concluded the programme on Friday, and on Saturday, the programme ended at Landmark with a queer multi-disciplinary event curated by Kaeto Sweeney with special guests Safia Bahmed-Schwartz, DJ Amina Oui, and Dj Julie Silset.

On sensuous knowledge and cuirness

Sensuous knowledge is kaleidoscopic, meaning that it can be understood as something that can coexist with other ways of sharing knowledge (with/within), rather than a binary setting (either/or). Sensuousness is a method to imagine paths, through which a “language that does not yet exist” can be created and can take form in poetry, playfulness, borderless, conscientiousness, dialogue, warmth, passion, compassion and many more.

The idea of thinking from/with/within, is reinforced by Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldúa’s notion of nepantla, and can be translated as a “way of being between waters”. These displacements, not only geographical, but also as subjectivities and identities, offer a unique position to observe and experience another understanding of being. These perspectives that disidentify from heteronormative and hegemonic structures, allow, as scholar Sarah Ahmed proposes, the possibility of making connections through desire lines and creating queer –and cuir– landscapes for a future that is yet to come, as suggested by the late Cuban scholar, José Esteban Muñoz. The spelling of Cuir is a way to phonetically re-appropriate the concept of queer from Latin American Spanish, adding intersectional and decolonial perspectives.

In their entirety, these displacements, as Paul B. Preciado suggests, reflect not only on the radical transformation of both the traveling body and of the society that either receives or rejects them, but also on the structures created to shape and maintain a notion of citizenship and humanity.

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Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell

When Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell come together they become an interdisciplinary art worker, collaborator, organizer, researcher, educator and musician. Since 2017 they have shared breaths through Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Berlin, Treignac, Skomvær, Bolzano, Turku among others. Now they are inhaling Bergen. They explicitly do affectivity within a queer eco-erotic ethics of polymorphous perversity and care making. They explore conditions for participatory practices in territorial environments by emphasizing the sticky shivers of (self-) touching through vibrating togetherness. Masturbatory cooperation, and a dis-location of those frictions, opens up for an unending dynamism of entanglements aka everything in the name of all things queer. Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell's participation is supported by IASPIS, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee's International Programme for Visual and Applied Arts.

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La Pocha Nostra

La Pocha Nostra is a transdisciplinary group devoted to erasing the borders between art and politics, practice and theory, and artist and spectator. Founded in 2001, the group has become known for radical interactive performances dealing with issues that equate the human body with the political body, and deal with complex gender and ethnic identities, migration, and the politics of new technologies and language. La Pocha Nostra practices an intense collaboration across national borders, race, gender, and generations as an act of radical citizen diplomacy and as a means for creating ephemeral communities of rebel artists. Ex-Machina 3.0 will be performed by Balitrónica Gomez, Saul Garcia Lopez, and Gerardo Juarez; with Pocha guests: Muza de La Luz and Cecilio Orozco.

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Frances Negrón-Muntaner

Frances Negrón-Muntaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and scholar. Born in Puerto Rico to a family of academics, Negrón-Muntaner’s work spans several fields, including cinema, literature, cultural criticism, and politics. Her education anticipates these various interests: She obtained a Bachelor's in sociology at the University of Puerto Rico (1986), then a Masters in film and anthropology at Temple University, Philadelphia (1991, 1994), and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University, New Brunswick (2000). For her work as a scholar and filmmaker, Negrón-Muntaner has received Ford, Truman, Scripps Howard, Rockefeller, and Pew fellowships. Major foundations and public television funding sources have also supported her work.


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Mabell Holand

Mabell Holand [they/them] is a writer, social activist, and poet. Their work is driven by the motivation for societal change, within the realms of LGBTQIA+, intersectionality, and racial discrimination, both as protagonist and contributor. Their work takes shape in workshops, interactive lectures, texts and dialogue. Mabell is working to complete their collection of poetry, and continue their contribution as a writer and public speaker for different initiatives.

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Elina Waage Mikalsen

Elina Waage Mikalsen is an interdisciplinary artist from from Romssa/Tromsø, Sápmi who works with sound, text, textile, performance and installation. Her sound practice is often of a mix of field recordings, her voice, electronics and home-built instruments to create sonic spaces that exist somewhere between reality and fantasy. A place where untold stories and cosmologies layer over us, or perhaps push the curtain aside. She is interested in the emotional and narrative properties of sound, and how sound can function as a time machine that causes time to collapse and sets both past and future in motion. Mikalsen’s background is of both Sámi and Norwegian heritage, which is a recurring theme in her artistic practice. The holes that Norwegian assimilation process has created in her own family history have become a starting point for her to fantasizing about and discussing what these holes represent, what matter they constitute and how they affect us today. As an artist, she is concerned with making visible and including the interweaving of people that she come from, and often include family and friends in her works. Which and whose stories are being told? What is forgotten, and what is the consequence of the gaps that arise in our memories and cultural practices?

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Asterisk (by Kaeto Sweeney)

Asterisk (by Kaeto Sweeney) is a Bergen-based queer multidisciplinary event and platform, founded in 2020. Celebrating our talented local and international queer artists and performers, it is an alternative event production project with the aim to create safer spaces for queer and transgender people within institutions and public spaces to showcase artistic interdisciplinary work, such as happenings, performance, sound, and visual art and films and everything in between. Asterisk is run by artist Kaeto Sweeney and supported by Kulturrådet and Bergen Kommune.

‘Gestures and Nods. A Seminar on Cuir/Queer Approaches to Knowledge Sharing Through Performance’ is curated by Itzel Esquivel/Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) and organised in collaboration with Bergen Kunsthall. Discussion partners Giovanna Espossito, Liv Brissach, Martina Petrelli and Minna Salami.

Malin Arnell and Mar Fjell participation is supported by IASPIS, the Swedish Arts Grants Committee´s International Programme for Visual and Applied Arts.


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