WATCHING QUEER OR THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE BLUE MEN
PERFORMED ONCE IN 2015
ISTANBUL QUEER ART COLLECTIVE / TUNA ERDEM, SEDA ERGUL, ONUR GOKHAN GOKCEK, LEMAN SEVDA DARICIOGLU
For several years, we have been engaged in the ongoing project of remaking Fluxus performances, through a process of first queerifying and then adapting them to present time and space. “Watching Queer or The Golden Age of Blue Men” is a part of this project and a reenactment of the 1963 Fluxus score “Monochrome for Yves Klein, Fluxversion I” by Ben Vauiter in which he asks the performers to paint a movie screen with non-reflective black paint while a favorite movie is being shown.
For performing this piece, we got in touch with the director of the International Independent Film Festival in Istanbul, in secret. We wrote a fake synopsis for a non-existent film. The film became part of the official programme with a scheduled screening and the fake synopsis was printed in the catalogue of the 14th installment of the festival. We edited footage from the documentation of a previous performance in which we had painted various objects in golden hues. We used mostly the frames that showed the audience watching us perform. When the scheduled time came, people who were expecting to watch a movie about queer sex, followed by a talk with the director and film crew—which were supposedly members of the Strap-On Arts Alliance—filled the theatre of SALT Beyoˇglu. A few minutes after the fake movie started, we, the four members of the Istanbul Art Collective walked on stage clad in glamorous outfits and proceeded to paint the screen with black paint. We thought the paint would render the film invisible, but it didn’t. Instead, the screen became akin to an abstract water-colour painting, combining the paint with the still–visible images underneath.
The audience sat throughout the performance without any visible reaction, except a few people who checked their catalogues to ascertain that they were at the right screening. We had expected more reaction and even interaction and concluded that festival crowds prefer to keep a nonchalant and cool attitude no matter what you throw at them. We on the other hand, had fun.