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Shambhala 2017

Shambhala 2017

By Michelle Swami August 11 – 14, 2017 Salmo River Ranch, BC VANCOUVER – This year marked the 20th anniversary of…

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Queer View Mirror: The Liquid State of Queerness

By Tommy Ting

Tommy Ting

Introduction

VANCOUVER — The recent events of 2016 have been hard to stomach. On most days I am at a loss for words; even my senses feel numbed. Over time it feels like I have nothing to say. Maybe I am suspended in disbelief; but I have always felt so much, I really have. My ex-boyfriend told me that feeling so much and feeling nothing at all is a very millennial queer affect. Was that a read? Or maybe it is just a sickness. I have consulted upon numerous writings on the productivity of negative affect, but of an indifferent one? I am unconvinced yet here I am anyway. I have never been much of a writer because my writings are awkward and unsophisticated. To recount my queer encounters this year, I return to where I always start all my thinking: the pool.

Room #1

Five, six, seven, eight, and under!

The loss of sight heightens all my other senses so I feel my way across this dark and humid room with my skin instead. Haptic navigation. The room reeked of all kinds of bodily and chemical fluids and I kind of love it. As I crawl through this swamp, I imagine liquid particles rising and evaporating into a viscous black fog that envelopes us with a tingling warmth, protecting us from the besieging world outside.

Room #2

Amorous mourning

In the next room filled with blue and red light, our porous bodies meet and press against each other so hard as if there were a million micro penetrations of your flesh into mine. As our bodies enter each other so do our memories, identities, and feelings. In this beautiful ritual of possession and release, we embrace the joy and suffering of things. We fall in love and we let go of love.

Room #3

Trans-temporal drag disruptions

In the main room the music drowns. Dionysus is standing tall behind the stage as the grandmaster (daddy) of this party. In queer temporality, industrial time (or homogeneous empty time) cede to operate as it has been indoctrinated by the nation state. Normative fictions collapse under queer time. It’s all part of the darkroom effect, a black hole sucks up everything into a time warp, even the clock cannot escape, and spits it back out into public bathrooms, parks, clubs, beaches, bathhouses, and bars. Murmuring, moaning, ahhhh-ing, slurping, slappings, fuck-yeahs, the sudden loud banging. We are flâneurs in the dark, cruising utopia. Queer cultural codes become the only form of communication; it’s a visual and body language. We want to stay here, it feels safe here, no one will harm us here. Temporality takes on different forms; it’s thick and curvy, smooth and lean, hairy and sticky, or even chemically aromatic. Queer time ticks in all directions. No! Not tick, dance! Queer time is a dance, and it moves horizontally, side-ways, back-and-forth. It is an anti-linear, anti-chronological beat.

The music crashes across the dance floor, it engulfs us and pulls us under into its belly.

Room #4

Ah, yes, I remember it well. 

Outside the time is magic hour, golden red hues slam deep into metallic blues. The bruised sky entangled and the uncanny takes hold. Memory is driven by present needs to imagine and desire a better future. The fluidity of time, I invite you to swim in it. There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

Time is strange, and strange is queer.

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