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Design by @studio_buymytalent
Dear board, management team and employees of [Name Institution] and all to whom it may concern,
On [DD/MM/YYYY] the project QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO will be launched in your institution. QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO is a series of live events and a digital podium on which those that identify as queer will present their interpretation of what queer means to them.
By creating such a podium QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO wants to not only problematize prevailing and reductive ways of describing a body (male, female, gay, straight etc.), but mostly invent new, more nuanced and inclusive ways of being and becoming.
First and foremost we would like to emphasize that by putting this event in (name institution), our mission is ultimately embedded in failure. [NAME INSTITUTION] has been, and still is, actively participating in the erasure of so many queer voices, especially for trans/bodies of colour. In subtle and occasionally blatant ways, it abides by colonial, patriarchal and heteronormative narratives that are extremely violent for so many in our community.
By the upholding of a mostly white board, management team and staff, ‘inclusivity’ results in becoming a topic; a quota. A door that can be opened in a well intended act of generosity, and closed again when circumstances become too difficult. By participating only in the f/m binary in your language, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam not only refers to bodies, but moreover creates them in a highly oppressive manner. Your collection features one type of person - in that respect we would like to point out that history is not a single story. By abiding to a colonial discourse of what is valid, [NAME INSTITUTION], again, not only refers to history but moreover creates it in a violent manner.
The list of structural exclusion that sits within your (public) institution is too long.
QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO is here to literally take up space and say we are not a topic, not a diversity quota, but bodies, histories and desires that are valid. We recognize the failure of being given over and sharing 3 hours that should in fact be, not a singular event but structural long lasting labour from the institution to make it a more inclusive space in terms of representation, collection, language, down to its board members and staff. In other words: QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO would like to strongly petition structural and long lasting labour from the institution to decolonize and queering their spirit. We also recognize that in every voice we have included, there are millions more we have not.
Yet within failure there is also opportunity. Within discomfort there is the opportunity to perforate the walls of the institution and catch up to the world that is rapidly developing around it. We are able to critique since we feel the change that is occurring around our bodies and right in front of our eyes as we walk in the world with increasing permission. This is why it is all the more painful when one steps into an institution, a public space designed to represent and challenge the times we live in, and that progress instantly falls away. QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO asks: how will the institution structurally change and meet the new contemporary?
On [DD/MM/YYYY] we are determined to make [NAME INSTITUTION] a safe space for our community, for all of the 3 hours that we are given. It is a very tiny gesture towards the creation of the future of [NAME INSTITUTION] that can comprehends so much more (and also less) than it is now.
QUEER IS NOT A MANIFESTO