Fucking Solidarity: queering concepts on/from a Post-Soviet perspectiveQueering Paradigms VIII
University of Vienna, Department for English and American Studies
20-23 September 2017
“The լղոզած treatment of QYC strikes me more as a convenient plugin, reproducing the status quo of who can gaze at whom and how. I think your observation regarding the excerpt from Viktor Shklovsky's "Гамбургский счет" (1928) is absolutely perfect here: В Батуме зашел с товарищем в Женотдел. "Мы, женщины Аджаристана," — диктовала белокурая женщина другой женщине, — "протестуем против интервенции в Китае и против предательства" . . .
(I went to the Women’s Department of the Communist Party (Zhenotdel) in Batum with a comrade. "We, the women of Adjaristan," a blond woman was dictating to another woman, "protest against the intervention in China and against the betrayal")” (QYC and Sargsyan 2017).
In this presentation I focus on a project titled “Բացա(հայ)տում In Flight: Singing Tricksters, Imposters, Masqueraders” as a decolonial practice of solidarity when an arts collective called the Queering Yerevan Collective initiated a conversation with me as a researcher who in the past had always initiated conversations and research with the Collective. This was our way of practicing solidarity together in the face of decolonial feminist-identified scholars’ cooptation of practices termed decolonial and their failure to acknowledge fellow scholars and artists from the “Global South” as knowledge producers.
By queering the conventions of genre and authorship of knowledge production, and (self-)critique, this collaborative project provides new openings for practicing solidarity. For example, we abandon the claim of the interviewer as the author of an interview-conversation and take flight in collective authorship. In our interview-conversation project we experiment with form as a decolonizing methodology. We use this conversation to also critique scholarly hypocrisy, at the same time staying alert to the ease of slipping into the many disciplining and norming systems we are working to unhinge and critique. Through our engagement with each other, images and the three-language text we co-create we make room for queering the forms, the genres, and the languages that solidarity can take on, at the same time providing collective self-care: intellectually and emotionally nourishing all of us involved in this practice.
“Is it possible to build a bridge without exploitation…?” asks the QYC (QYC and Sargsyan, 2017). To which I say Yes, if I can “dream-travel into new imaginaries cutting across linearity of disciplines, time, worlds, and realities through [this] bridge” (QYC and Sargsyan 2017). “How to dismantle the world that is built to accommodate only some bodies?" Ahmed asks [(2017:14)]. How to dismantle the feminist-titled worlds that are built to accommodate only colonizing bodies? I ask” (QYC and Sargsyan 2017).
I share our experience of inclusive queering solidarity through a multi-genre performance, incorporating my auto-ethnographic reflections, our (QYC and my) theoretical analysis of issues such as decolonial feminism, naming as a feminist issue, and citation as “feminist memory” (Ahmed 2017). I incorporate the images that the QYC took, as they are part of our visions and critique and flight. I close my presentation with a song to create the affective attunements that our own practice of solidarity as an anti-hierarchical decolonizing practice makes possible.
 Viktor Shklovsky, The Hamburg Score, trans. S. Avagyan (Champaign, Illinois: Dalkey Archive, 2017), 173.
Ahmed, S. (2017). Living a Feminist Life. Durham: Duke University Press.
Queering Yerevan and Nelli Sargsyan. (2017). “Բացա(հայ)տում in Flight: Singing Tricksters, Imposters, Masqueraders.” In ARTMargins (February 11, 2017)