Review by Zero:
On the 22nd of February, the Henry Moore Institute opened its doors for AgeofThe: Athenian. Curated by Luna Morgana, the event featured performances by Luca, China, LadyHD and Donna the Domme from Doncaster as their own queer interpretations of the work of Edward Allington.
The nature of art galleries is that they are often pristine, sterile, white spaces, where art is to be whispered about, not touched. Many installations of interactive art pride themselves in welcoming physical touch as a disruption of the clinical, spectative white cube nature of the traditional art gallery, but AgeOfThe: Athenian achieved the perfect balance between spectation and interaction with physical art. It positively disrupted the silent spectative atmosphere that clings to the white walls of art galleries by placing living, moving performance art next to sculptures and paintings, not so much as a contrast but a true, interactive, inter-woven response to the art. Audience members, therefore, were able to vicariously interact with and respond to the art, and while it was difficult to break the habit of keeping quiet like you're supposed to in art galleries, cheering and clapping was well encouraged.
After the performances had finished, the audience were brought to a panel discussion, where Luna and the performers discussed the event and its significance with attendees. Again, this was an important interactive approach to the artwork on a personal level, a form of interaction far more important than being able to physically handle pieces of artwork, an invitation to talk above whispers about the event with the people behind it.
As a whole, the event demonstrated that queer art needs to be allowed to infiltrate spaces and platforms in the world of art freely and uniquely, to discuss and communicate each individual's own feelings about art in a way that matters to their own community. The event made art accessible, it integrated queer performance art culture with mainstream institutions, opened up communication in our own language and turned an unfamiliar, pristine territory into a welcoming and beyond entertaining space. The experience was uplifting, immersive, unique and important - a glimpse into a future world where all forms of art is interwoven, accessible to all, multi-lingual, immersive, unique and visible.
This could not have been achieved without the flawless organisation and curation by Luna Morgana, and the incredible talent of AgeOfThe. The event was incredibly entertaining and thought-provoking, an amazing example of the talent and hard work in our community, a catalyst for visibility and accessibility in queer art.
ageofthe: athenian was best summed up by my sister donna the domme as a cleansing and a purging and it really did feel like that cuz of the wave after wave of pure shite we’ve faced lately, especially the queer community and even more so the trans community - real talk lgbt+ history month and the uk media have not been kind to us and by the time the event came around i was too exhausted to feel my own rage at how much trans women and trans femmes were being thrown under the damn bus but that was deffo partly what the takeover and the afterparty was about the rage and the purging-
purging the institutional queerphobia we’ve all faced, purging the ideas of how queer and trans bodies and behaviours and thoughts and theories should be
it was also a beacon of hope. i’ve never seen trans art by trans ppl done in a gallery without the gallery massively fucking it up cuz cis curators don’t even know where to begin without deadnaming or misgendering or just earasing queerness n transness altogether. this was the first time i’ve irl seen trans art by trans ppl in a gallery done well and the fact that i had to curate it myself only really rubs salt into the wound and shows how important this was. it was the thing that was most talked about in the panel discussion (our donna was the token cis so the conversation was trans heavy in the most beautiful way) how we just don’t see ourselves anywhere and how different it was to do somethin in a white cube space as opposed to a space made of wooden pallets, glitter and tape - space that we have had to build ourselves to see ourselves and validate ourselves
i’m not sure i’ll ever quite get over that 10 years after being a homeless alcoholic street queen i kicked so hard swimmin to survive that i seem to have overshot and accidently got myself and my drag family a paid gig in one of the major institutions in our city but it happened and its a part of our community and our city’s history now and that feels like its the start of a new era right there
i think its safe to say no cisgender heterosexual person at that event will ever quite understand how important it was to us to step our power up to that of an institution and show that we are worthy and that we can and will take the white cube space for our own and disrupt it with every fiber of our beings til it looks like us and do this in the most gloriously outragous fashion with the biggest fake tittyplate u ever did see cuz we are everything u ever theorised and fetishised come to bear
zeus is dead, olympus is ours, welcome to the age of athena