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Jan Vincent Durina – In Conversations: Compositions of Subjects and Meanings

Turning to the aesthetic in the case of queerness is nothing like an escape from the social realm, insofar as queer aesthetics map future social relations… Queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world. – José Esteban Muñoz: Feeling Utopia

The exhibition space is transformed into a stage. Actually, the exhibition has been a stage from the very beginning. All the dialogs between various “Yous” and “Is” orchestrated and put into life by Paul Maheke suddenly open up to new affiliations, affinities, kinships, proximities, alliances, relationships, and plays.

The event, entitled “In Conversation:Compositions of Subjects and Meanings”, offers a closure for the solo show of Paul Maheke in the main exhibition space of Kunsthalle Bratislava. Maheke invited Slovak interdisciplinary artist and musician Jan Vincent Durina to utilise the created stage, for this occasion. Durina has decided to collaborate and create a performance with his long-term collaborator, French multimedia artist Pauline Canavesio (aka BORA), and Czech artist Ondřej Kubeš. Together, they enter the space of the exhibition “You and I” to examine and elaborate on their thoughts on queer love, imagination, affection and healing. The performance draws its inspiration from queer and feminist writings and poetry. It incorporates reading and reciting of selected texts, together with Durina’s characteristically styled theatrical/ dramatic/ ambivalent audio-visual show using post-club references, hand-embroidered costumes and expressive movement. The title of the performance is inspired by the poems of the British-American poet W. H. Auden and the Australian writer and anthropologist Kathleen Stewart.

The stage is activated. The sound. The voice. The letters become thoughts, music and dance. All those vibrations and movements guide you through a spectrum of possibilities on a scale between and around “You” and “I.” From the depths of isolation to the potential for healing, ritual, magic and back again. And once again. Oscillating. Resonating. The performance is offering you everything you need and desire—it asks questions without imposing answers. It is opening trails and waving in the space.

In addition to a performative lecture, a dance and music session, as well as a fragment of the vital force of a rave, the event will also offer a panel discussion with Paul Maheke, Jan Vincent Durina and Pauline Canavesio. They will elaborate on the issues and questions raised by Maheke’s exhibition that also resonate in artistic practices of Durina and Canavesio. The discussion will raise the questions about the role of queerness in the formulation of new societies and our collective futures, issues of mental health, care and solidarity in the current moment, as well as elaborate on the various pasts that predefine the current phase of the game we are playing.

Everyone is welcome. The performance and panel discussion will be held in English, but don’t worry, there will be plenty of content besides the words if you feel more comfortable in another language.