Space/ID Madrid – Day 4

July 11, 2013 – When Giada and Haven woke up this morning, they talked about how we should really frame the report backs from city research trips as “exhibitions” rather than “presentations” so that people feel more liberated to get creative with how they convey their information.

It wasn’t a necessary distinction to make.

The four site visits that took place last night and this morning were: public transportation, religious spaces, sex shops, and cruising areas/parks.  Their task was to answer questions like What kind of sexuality is permissible in this place? How do you know?  How could the function of this area change through artistic intervention?

We ask these questions because sexuality and gender, particularly of the non-conforming or trans* categories, are some of the most polices elements of our identities when social rules determine what is meant for private space and what is allowed in the public sphere.  Knowing how and when we receive these rules is critical to challenging them when needed.

A selection of items gathered to present the idea that sex has been commodified and industrialized according to gender and sexuality norms that may not be authentic to our personal experiences.

A selection of items gathered to present the idea that sex has been commodified and industrialized according to gender and sexuality norms that may not be authentic to our personal experiences.

The report backs were art performances in their own right.  One group mimed for us the gendered relationships between bodies as people navigate where and how to sit on the bus.  Another group shared what is was like to have a female body in a traditionally male cruising park.  We even got a reading of Sodom and Gomorrah, which made us think anew about the story so often used to malign LGBTQ people but really has a lot more to say about heterosexual abuse.

These folks are great at turning everything slightly off center so we learn something new.

At sunset, the art project Cruising El Retiro took place.

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