Events

Events

Gay Sex and the Disappearing City

  • Date:2019-11-17
  • Time:18:00
  • Event:Gay Sex and the Disappearing City
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*BOOKING OPENS ON THE 1ST OF OCTOBER*

Gay Sex and the Disappearing City is a performance-lecture for two readers and viola da gamba that explores the ways in which our cities have provided queer folk spaces to explore sex, intimacy and belonging, as well as opportunities for political organising, and how gentrification, increasing living costs, and property speculation are endangering those spaces and limiting our opportunities to experiment with queer forms of sociability and world-making.

Drawing from autobiography, historical sources, texts by early Gay Liberation activists, and fieldwork notes collected in gay clubs and darkrooms in Berlin, we ask how new generations of LGBTQ+ folk might discover intimacy and community at a time when hook-up apps and property speculation have made queer sex increasingly secretive.

The early Gay Liberation activists whose writings we reference hated secrecy. They fought to historicise queer lives and bring them out into the open, not distinguishing between scholarship and activism. They were home-brew theorists who worked with fellow activists on complex and compelling questions of politics in a variety of written and public platforms. Sex and sociality mixed with activism, a conversation at the sauna or the bar might have led to an essay on beauty in gay life, later printed in a magazine next to an advertisement for a leather sex club. The loss of a generation to AIDS and of LGBTQ+ venues to gentrification has also contributed to the loss of space for serious conversations about ideas, sex and politics, and for practices of queer solidarity. By performing these texts alongside contemporary and original reflections on these themes in a bar like The Glory, we re-inhabit the spirit in which they were written; that they may haunt us and our audience.

With:
João Florêncio (University of Exeter)
Ben Miller (Freie Universität, Berlin; Schwules Museum, Berlin; Bad Gays Podcast)
Liam Byrne (Guildhall School of Music and Drama/V&A)

Partners:
The Glory

This event is part of Being Human Festival, a festival of the Humanities led by the School of Advanced Studies, University of London, in partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the British Academy.

Image Credit:
Sholem Krishtalka, Silvester II (19/27). Ink and wash on paper, 2016.
Image courtesy of the artist.