Exodus, Constitution, and queer politics of laughter

Internationales Symposium, Berlin, 25./26. Juni 2016

Anliegen des Symposium ist es, über folgende Fragen zu diskutieren: Was ist der gegenwärtige Zustand und was sind die zukünftigen Ziele queerer Politik? Wie verhalten sich queere Politiken bezüglich gesellschaftlicher Fragen und befasen sich z.B. mit der ökonomischen Krise in Europa, gegenwärtigen Flüchtlingsolitiken, den Auswirkungen militärischer Auseinandersetzungen oder dem so genannten Krieg gegen den Terror? Und inwiefern müssen wir queere Politiken als Frage von kultureller Form und Modalitäten politischer Handlungsmacht denken anstelle eines Feldes, das nur durch seine Thematik definiert wird? In diesem Sinne lenken wir den Blick auf das subversive Potenzial, aber auch die tödlichen Konsequenzen des Lachens, um aktuelle Debatten über Karikatur und Zensur aufzunehmen, aber auch kritische Verbindungen zwischen politischer Modalität und den Ansprüchen von Rationalität und Souveränität aufzuzeigen. (auf Englisch)


Image by Beatrix Haddock

Das Symposium bringt Forscher_innen der verschieden Sozial- und Politikwissenschaften mit Künstler_innen und Geisteswissenschaftler_innen zusammen. Transdiziplinarität erlaubt es, gemeinsam Repräsentationskritik zu reflektieren und zu erörtern, wie diese in Kunst und Kulturtheorie als Paradigma entwickelt wurde, um das souveräne politische Subjekt zu subvertieren und damit soziale und politische Theorie in ihrer Auffassung von Handlungsmacht und Wandel herauszufordern. Zugleich fordert das Symposium Forscher_innen in den Geisteswissenschaften dazu auf, sich mit konkreten Fragen internationaler Politiken zu befassen. Zu guter Letzter lädt es zu einer philosophischen Diskussion über das Verständnis ‚des Politischen’ in queer-theoretischer Perspektive ein.

I Current State and Future Aims of Queer Politics

  • Presentist Democracy and Interstitial Interventions
  • Post-sovereign Politics and Queer(ing) Globalization

II Laughter as (embodied) Political Strategy and Aesthetic Practice

  • Interstitials of Neoliberal Economy and Sexual Justice
  • Laughter: From Confrontation to Restructuring the Aesthetic Order
  • Instead of Exodus: Laughing Within the Grip of Power

III Queer Feminist Laughter and Political Change

  • Laughter Beyond the Revolution
  • Performative Collectivities

Teilnehmer*innen und Beitragende: Nana Adusei-Poku, Bini Adamczak, Thomas Basiuk, Jelisaveta Blogajević, Christina von Braun, Judith Butler, María do Mar Castro Varela, Mathias Danbolt, Anna Daučíková, Astrid Deuber-Mankosky, Jess Dorrance, Antke Engel, Anne-Marie Fortier, Jule Jakob Govrin, Sabine Hark, Elahe Hashemi Yekani, Ana Hoffner, Christoph Holzhey, Eugen Januschke, Anelis Kaiser, Simonida Jovanovic, Katrin Köppert, Katerina Kolarova, Robert Kulpa, Renate Lorenz, Isabell Lorey, Sushila Mesquita, Beatrice Michaelis, Gin Müller, Ruth Noack, Ismael Ogando, Katrin Pahl, Tuija Pulkinnen, Patricia Purtschert, Eva von Redecker, Leticia Sabsay, Sandra Selimovic, Tomasz Sikora, Wibke Straube, Kathy-Ann Tan, Tanja Vogler, Cynthia Weber, Volker Woltersdorff, Zairong Xiang.

Mit eingeladenen Beiträgen von
Isabell Lorey: Debt, Gift, Exodus
Gin Müller: Queer humor and “penetrating“ laughter
as performative tools of resistance

Eva von Redecker: „Taking flight in leaps“:
On the dynamics of social transformation
Nana Adusei-Poku: When laughter reflects the past in the present

Einige Gedanken aus den Beiträgen und Diskussionen:
It seems there is not much to laugh about, when the Black body is under attack.
When Black queerness and gender variance poses a threat to a homogenous blackness. Contemporary Black Queer Culture is filled with themes of mourning, practices of healing, loss and “dark” comedy. What are the pitfalls of representation?
How to embrace a particularism, which acknowledges, that “we” can not all laugh at the same jokes? This input aims to re-open questions of particularism and non-totalitarism by presenting hilarious meme’s, that spotlight the complexities of laughter.“___ Nana Adusei-Poku

How many queers does it take to change a light bulb? None. Queers don’t change the bulb, they change the socket.“ ___ Bini Adamczak

„Just as anthropologists point out that smiling involves the baring of teeth, so there is something neurotic about laughter. (How am I to know if I’m not being laughed at?) Clearly, both overcome the hypothetical divide between sociality and anti-sociality.“ ___ Tomasz Basiuk

„After having read the inspiring texts on politics in interstitial time_space, presentist democracy, penetrating laughter and endless laughter I would like to think about the question of how laughter relates to anarchy and under which conditions anarchic laughter becomes contagious and thus political.“ ___ Astrid Deuber-Mankowsky

„Can queer laughter endure, or form a basis for a politics of endurance? What does it mean to use laughter as a form of historiographical touching? How can laughter operate as a tactic of minoritarian recuperation and repair?“ ___ Jess Dorrance

„There is a coincidence that wits in English sounds like Witz in German (Witz meaning joke) – an enticing connection between mind and laughter that rarely enters academy. Could one say that it needs Gewitztheit, wittiness, in order to labour in the interstices of power relations, to commit to the norm in order to subvert the norm?“ ___ Antke Engel

„To the laughter of Medusa I would like to add the silence of the sirens as Kafka had imagined it. In a short piece of prose he explores the power of the sirens and the question if they did sing or not – and deconstructs Odysseus as the pre-eminent figure of male sovereignty. I’ll attach Kafkas piece and an essay of mine on Kafka’s text. PS. It should also be noted that Kafka is personally known for his remarkable laugh!“ ___ Sabine Hark

„Pasolini: “I have erected this statue in order to laugh” ::: “Derision can involve only the whole, entire reality.“ ::: „The idea of hope for the future becomes irresistibly comic,” – Laughing at everything, including oneself and one’s hopes:  Thinking with the paradoxical pleasure and engagement in Pasolini’s recantation without conversion.“ ___ Christoph Holzhey

„Can joined laughter about the monstrous children of hegemonic structures become a line of flight? Its affects making way for a slightly changed past thanks to interstitial Time_Spaces in present? Kann das gemeinsame Lachen über die monströsen Kinder hegemonialer Strukturen eine Fluchtlinie bilden, wo dessen Affekt den Weg bereitet für eine leicht veränderte Vergangenheit eines Zwischenräume bildenden Zeit_Raums in der Gegenwart?„___ Eugen Januschke

„Wie können wir uns Umarmung – while embracing the ridiculous – literally als queer-politisch affizierendes Momentum von Lachen vorstellen? – vor allem in Anbetracht der sich in Umarmungen artikulierenden Trauerarbeit, wie wir es gerade in Bezug auf Orlando erleben. Also was ist das queer-politische der Umarmung im Kontext von Lachen? How literally could embrace – while embracing the ridicloulous – be imagined as a queer-political affecting factor – especially considering embrace as an overwhelmingly perceivable articulation of mourning due to Orlando. Thus what is the queer political of embrace in the context of laughter?“ ___ Katrin Köppert

„Would queer politics be more possible to imagine if the contemporary culture shifted (back) away from writing towards the oral, towards the culture of . . . Hmmm, exactly, of what? Here perhaps is a space for a ridiculous, for the laughter, to enter the landscape of consideration. Of course, laughter can be transcribed and conveyed in text, but “hahahahaha” is not really working. It conveys an idea and laughter, but indeed it is rather ridiculous, and is not funny. Laughter needs to be heard. Laughter needs to be spoken, well laughed, actually. Laughter is performative; it exists only when it is being performed. And for me to be ridiculous is connected and bound with laughter. I’m not sure how I would define the queer ridiculous, but it definitely needs to be somehow connected to laughter and audible audacity.“ ___ Robert Kulpa

„Those who laugh last laugh longest… how can one ignore the deafening sound of Black, Latino, and queer of color lives truncated—the resounding echo of their laughter abruptly cut short. Orlando, you have lived for centuries . . . and your laughter (less subversive than nervous, flirtatious— “do you want me, too?”), your fatigue, your dancing the pain away, your queer desire in blue flame, will not be extinguished.“ ___ Kathy-Ann Tan

„I’m preoccupied with how we might respond when dephallicized hegemonic subjects absorb, disavow or otherwise deflect our laughter to consolidate their power so they might have the last laugh. (the ‚dephallicized hegemonic subject‘ is a figure my book ‚faking it:  US hegemony in a post-phallic era‘ (1999) – all about strategic mobilizations of humour to take on hegemonic power in global politics. personally, i find a lot of what i wrote then far from funny these days. it was a book of its times.)“ ___ Cynthia Weber

„The angel of history is in no laughing mood. Can we exit history and the grasp it has of us by laughing? Can we enter history laughing and thereby constitute a political collectivity?“ ___ Volker Woltersdorff

„Laughter – Mishearing – Coloniality: Is there an Exodus through laughter? Yes! Making Foucault a gynecologist (yes this doesn’t make sense for the moment, but I will explain to you – and potentially killed the joke – how Foucault is mis-heard as the gynecologist some years ago in my hometown in China when I was routinely mistaken as a sexologist) and rendering him, at best one of the many saints for inspiring new queer theories to come!“ ___ Zairong Xiang

Ankündigungstext des Symposiums Konzept (pdf)

Gefördert durch die Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftDruck