“Love is a profoundly social emotion. Love is not in the least a ‘private’ matter concerning only the two loving persons: love possess a uniting element which is valuable to the collective.”
Alexandra Kollontai, “On Marriage and Everyday Life” (1926)
Sofia Queer Forum 2017 is dedicated to the centenary of the October Revolution. This occasion is a great opportunity to reflect on the variety of controversies this date has been associated with around the world. We would like to rediscover through arts some of the ideas that brought to life changes in gender relations as a result of revolutionary thought – such as simplification and secularization of marriage and divorce, legalization of abortion, emancipation of women: obtaining voting rights, economic independence, socialized care and security of maternity, access to education, expression of sexuality and sexual identity (in the USSR homosexuality was decriminalized from 1922 until 1933).
This specific moment in time of an actual transformation of power, when systems of social relations have changed dramatically, had been a time of chaos, but also a time of discovery. We are interested in this exact time of rupture, in the discoveries that have been made then including all controversies around them and how they still affect our practices now.
The legacy of people like Alexandra Kollontai and Clara Zetkin has been often neglected as if it was some superstructure to the Bolshevik revolution. Kollontai was the first to head of the Department of Social Welfare in the new Soviet Union and later the head of the Women’s Department, which pursued women’s equal rights. But her work influenced more than women’s issues and helped emancipate homosexual people too. On occasions, Kollontai criticized precisely the idea that proletarian sexual morality is no more than superstructure. The primacy of economy and its change is normally seen as the condition for any change in sexual/gender relations, but people like Kollontai developed a dialectical notion of love as inextricable from class struggle.
SQF 2017 is an attempt to de-Stalinize the legacy of the sexual revolution in USSR in the beginning of the XX century. We propose that queer love is a (class) struggle with heterosexism and patriarchy. Queer love, in short, can become under given conditions the base: it is not always the superstructure.
The programme includes topic-oriented works submitted to Sofia Queer Forum’s international video competition “Red Love”, whose jury consisted of the following members: Slavcho Dimitrov (Macedonia), Oleg Mavromatti (Russia/Bulgaria/USA), Andrey Parshikov (Russia), Daniela Radeva (Bulgaria), and Kathy Rae Huffman (USA). On September 1 in Creative Hall, as in the period October 20 – November 3 in the art space Æther, we will announce and show the winners from the video competition. Parallel to the competition’s video programme, we will also show works by Ilmira Bolotyan (Russia), Eva Davidova (Bulgaria/USA), Ida Daniel (Bulgaria), Yana Dimitrova (Bulgaria/USA), Filip Jovanovski (Macedonia), Katya Shadkovska (Poland), and Zaoli Zhong (China). For the opening the special SQF 2017 guest will be the Russian curator Andrey Parshikov.
Screening of works from the international video competition “Red Love” and an exhibition with works by Ilmira Bolotyan, Eva Davidova, Ida Daniel, Yana Dimitrova, Filip Jovanovski, Katya Shadkovska, Zaoli Zhong
When: September 1, 2017, Friday, 7pm
Where: Creative Hall, Dianabad, 122 Tintyava Str.
Sofia Queer Forum’s art show will also be on display at the art space Æther, between Oct 20 and Nov 3, 2017.
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