BODIES, FIGURATIONS, WORLDS: Video Introductions to Queer Theory
by Antke A. Engel (guest professor for gender and queer studies) and Filmfetch (Tali Tiller; Magda Wystub), FernUniversity Hagen, 2021
In an artistic and experimental academic form these videos provide introductions to queer theory as a critique of structures of domination and a way of thinking difference through dynamics of power and desire. Sex, gender and sexuality, the power of language, and resistance to planetary inequalities and histories of violence are recurrent topics.
Online available (in German with English or Spanish subtitles).
“In Queer Theory, power fantasises. Power regulates. And power desires. No heteronormativity without desire. But no critique of power either.” This is the opening of one of the video introductions to queer theory created by guest professor Antek Engel (in the subject area of Education and Difference) together with Berlin filmmakers Tali Tiller and Magda Wystub (Filmfetch) at the FernUniversität in Hagen. The three short films take an experimental artistic approach, presenting queer theory as a specific way of thinking about difference and critiquing power. In order to do this, they pay particular attention to the entanglement of power and desire.
Under the titles BODIES (20:16 min), FIGURATIONS (13:16 min) and WORLDS (16:00 min), the films offer insights into the themes of gendered socialisation, language and representation, as well as social and planetary inequalities. Topics discussed range from “doing sex_gender” to critiques of hetero- and homonormativity, and posthuman “humus thinking” in the technosciences.
Three hybrid beings, simultaneously human, animal and machine, appear alongside curly, square and round brackets plus various guests, staging a grand display of queer movements, terms and images. Within settings which are surreal, ambiguous and at the same time precisely composed, the videos invoke concepts and theories in a way that invites the audience to think and to embark on further research.
“In their artistic and experimental form, the films test out new paths for the genre of educational videos,” says Professor Katharina Walgenbach, “because they invite us to think, rather than feeding us bite-sized pieces of knowledge. The aesthetic plays an important role: not only because it makes the videos more accessible, but also because it generates the queerness which is the central theme.”
The sound duo HYENAZ (Kathryn Fischer and Adrienne Teicher) developed the audio art for the videos. Saboura Naqshband, Pasquale Virginie Rotter and Neo Hülcker, alongside Jayrôme C. Robinet (spoken word) perform in fantastical costumes by Kallia Kefala. The filmmakers Tali Tiller and Magda Wystub, with whom Engel co-directed the videos, transformed the acting and the set (graphics by Gabi Garland) using their green screen editing to create a complex marvel of small details and bold strokes.
The videos were produced at the FernUniversität in Hagen in the subject area of Education and Difference (Professor Katharina Walgenbach), with funding from the national and federal state equal opportunity program (Professorinnenprogramms II), as well as from the subject area and the equality policy at the FernUni.
On Friday March 12, 2021, 4:30 – 6:30 pm CET, the videos will be presented online as the final gig of FernUni Hagen’s week of Gender Days, organized by the Gender Equality department. Antke Engel, Tali Tiller, and Magda Wystub (Filmfetch) will be present, looking forward to feedback and exchange. Please register: gender(at)fernuni-hagen.de
On Sun November 28, 2021 there is a live event at Villa Neukölln, Berlin, celebrating the release of the videos.