The Vancouver Queer Arts Festival announced Trigger: Drawing the line in 2015 as the theme for this year’s edition of the interdisciplinary arts festival.
Celebrating the 25th anniversary of what the Oxford Dictionary of Art calls “the quintessential embodiment of queer arts”, this year’s festival uses the 1990 photo-based exhibition Drawing the Line by Vancouver collective Kiss & Tell (Persimmon Blackbridge, Lizard Jones and Susan Stewart) as its inspiration.
“Created in the context of the Red Hot Video store fire-bombings while Canada Customs confiscated shipments to Little Sister’s Bookstore, Drawing the Line presented increasingly provocative images of lesbian sexuality, and invited participants to write on the walls showing where they drew the line,” say organizers. “Audiences responded in a decidedly non-linear way, and impassioned debates flowered on the walls around the images. Drawing the Line toured internationally and became a rallying cry for freedom of speech, sex-positive feminism and queer art.”
With those lines being drawn differently today, including increased warnings placed on art to alert viewers of potentially traumatizing material, the Queer Arts Festival is questioning what we are sacrificing for safety’s sake.
This year’s festival will include Kiss & Tell’s first new event in thirteen years, plus a partial remount of Drawing the Line and a curated exhibition that asked contemporary visual artists where they draw their own lines.
“In performances and workshops, artists explore flash points like religion, BDSM, disability, and gender panic, while others draw lines of connection instead, triggering inspiration by tracing their lineage to the queer artists who blazed trail before us,” say organizers.
(Image above: Persimmon Blackridge / Queer Arts Festival)
The 2015 Queer Arts Festival runs July 23 to August 7 at the Roundhouse Community Centre. Visit http://queerartsfestival.com for more information.