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Labor – an exhibition and film screenings about sex work


Bara på engelska

“Sex Work is work but also sometimes it’s labor, like digging a ditch.” (From How to fuck: A case study for the bodily exhausted by Cyd, published in Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic edited by Tobi Hill-Meyer)

This is a three day event focusing on sex work and queerness. Different perspectives will be presented through exhibition, film screenings and talks. The films and art shown is either made by sex workers (some open about their work and some not), or allies and friends of sex workers. The event is organised by Tove Pils and SAQMI — The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images — in cooperation with Folkuniversitetet.

The gallery and the cinema are both wheelchair accessible.

All the films are either in english or have english subtitles. Sadly we didn’t manage to get all the films with subtitles.

Friday 24/5
16:00 – 20:30 Opening/Vernissage Galleri Monitor
18:00 Reading by Cyd
18:40 Q&A with Julian Curico and people who are part of Tove Pils ongoing project.

Saturday 25/5
12:00 – 16:00 Exhibition Galleri Monitor

Sunday 26/5
12:00 – 20:30 Exhibition Galleri Monitor
16:30 Short films 1
18:00 Panel discussion about sex work in film/art.
Participants: Julian Curico and people who are part of Tove Pils ongoing project. Moderator: Tove Pils
19:20 Short films 2

Sunday there will also be vegan soup from 16:00 that you can have between or before the films.

The short film program and the discussion will be in Bio Valand, which you reach through Galleri Monitor.

Short film program

Short films 1

Lucid Noon Sunset Blush by Alli Logout
17 December International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers by the organisation Kırmızı Şemsiye – The Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association is a sex worker led organisation in Turkey
Honey bee by Empower Foundation – sex worker organisation in Thailand
Mirha Soleil Ross’ Gut-busting, Ass-erupting & Immoderately Whorish compilation tape! by Mihra-Soleil Ross
Work in progress by Tove Pils

Short films 2

The Honeybringer by Vincent Lee and Claire Havell
All That Sheltering Emptiness by Joey Carducci and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
Profile: Kevin by Matt Lambert
Making the sex worker opera by Anna Wistreich

Organizers and artists/filmmakers:

Tove Pils
Tove Pils is a student at the master program in film at Academy Valand and the initiator and curator of the event. Tove has been working on a documentary about queer sex workers in San Francisco for many years and before they graduate they want to take the opportunity to show work from artists, sex workers and filmmakers that have inspired or taught them things about sex work, as well as fragments from their own work. Tove has previously directed the short film PUSH ME.

The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images is compiling the history of queer moving images and bringing it together in one place. It is a history that has been marginalised through oppression and self-censorship. Through documentation, interviews, archiving, screenings, presentations, workshops and discussions, the first platform for queer moving images in Sweden is storing and spreading this history.

Cyd moved to the US from Australia 11 years ago with the earnings from stripping, and now is transitioning out of sex work after graduating from school paid for with blow jobs. He is currently supporting efforts to decriminalize prostitution in New York, is the Director of FTM gay porn site Bonus Hole Boys and was a previous Programs Director at St James Infirmary – a clinic for current and former sex workers. His writing on trans life, sex and politicized bodies has appeared in Policy Mic, The Rumpus, Tits and Sass, Pretty Queer Visual AIDS and his fiction has been published in Nerve Endings, The Collection: The New Transgender Vanguard, Prose and Lore, and How to Come Out Like a Porn Star!

Julian Curico
“I find definitions sometimes tricky and from my experience the video work is considered as either art or porn and I am not opposed to either definition. The intentions that go in to my work is not to arouse the audience, but the arousal is a welcomed reaction!”

Julian is an artist, filmmaker, fetish and cruising club organiser and sex worker based in Berlin. To Julian, creating sex positive images is a collaborative process based on consent and interest. This interest can vary and as a director and facilitator of explicit scenes he sees it as his responsibility to try to understand how he can meet the individual desires of the people who take part in his projects. He aims to create an intentional space where all participants, including himself, can explore freely within a structured setting. Some want to be directed, others direct themselves or improvise through play. He finds it interesting to try to expand the notion of what sex is and can be, and feels a need to challenge restrictive norms of decency and to create a space where sexuality is valued outside of judgement and shame.

Artists who are members of the Swedish sex worker organization Fuckförbundet will exhibit some of their artwork. Fuckförbundet is an organisation by and for sex workers founded in 2017.

Charlotta Öberg
Charlotta is currently a student at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In her practice she questions power structures and restrictions in the society such as norms of behavior, norms of being heterosexual and norms of being successful and healthy. She explores the feelings these norms create and investigates how you can fight such structures by doing. What can come inside the hard plastic surface these norms create? What underlying desires are there and which desires does it create?

Right now Charlotta is interested in the tabu of the anus and her own fear about the topic. She wants to create a space for taking care of the anus and put it on the agenda in a playful way to give it attention and loosen up tensions around the topic.

Karl Hedin

Gabrielle Le Roux.
Gabrielle Le Roux in collaboration with Trans Activists in Turkey
The film in the exhibition is part of the video installation project Proudly Trans in Turkey. The project is a cultural intervention for social justice which combines portraits drawn from life, first-person stories, interviews and video. It is a call to solidarity with the trans rights movement in Turkey. It is a co-creation between Turkish activists and a South African artist and activist for social justice.

Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers
APNSW is a regional network working to promote and protect the health and human rights of sex workers in the Asia Pacific region

Juli Apponen
Juli Apponen is an artist and she works.

VAMP, an abbreviation of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad, is a collective of 5,000 women in sex work in Maharashtra and North Karnataka. Since 1990, they have been working on issues of health and human rights of sex workers. They serve as a model of a strong sex workers collective in the region, at the local, national, and international level. Importantly, VAMP, along with its own constituency of people in sex work, also works with transport and migrant workers in the region.

Swarm collective
SWARM is a collective founded and led by sex workers who believe in self-determination, solidarity and co-operation. We campaign for the rights and safety of everyone who sells sexual services. Together we organise skill-shares and support meet-ups just for sex workers, as well as public events. We are UK based and part of the global sex worker led movement advocating the full decriminalisation of sex work.

Mirha-Soleil Ross
Performance artist, video maker, transsexual activist, curator, sex worker. Transplanted Québécois Ross is Toronto’s most visible and prolific transgender cultural voice. The star of the National Film Board’s well intentioned documentary In the Flesh (Gordon McLennan, 2000, 47), Ross’s sixteen or so own video productions have much more raw artistic energy and political bite—“gut-busting, ass-erupting and immoderately whorish,” as she says in the compilation of video excerpts. The tapes, often made in collaboration with Xanthra MacKay and Mark Karbusicky, blur boundaries among document, demonstration, performance, narrative, autobiography, representation… and provocation. From her own personal body, history and experience to the political fields of reproductive technology and animal rights, Ross’s restless art covers a broad landscape of politics and desire. Ross founded Toronto’s “Counting Past Two” trans-arts festival in 1998.

Empower Foundation
Empower is a sex worker organisation in Thailand
We are sex workers. We are workers who use our brains and skills to earn an income. We are proud to support ourselves and our extended families. We look after each other at work; we fight for safe and fair standards in our industry and equal rights within society. We are a major part of the Thai economy, bringing in lots of tourist dollars. We are active citizens on every issue… politics, economics, environment, laws rights, etc. we try to find a space in society to stand up and be heard. Some see us as problem makers, but actually we are part of the solution. We are sex workers; we are Empower.

Vincent Lee
Vincent Lee is a video activist and Film-maker, although working primarily with film and video. He is Interested in collaborative video projects, socially conscious film, documentary, docufiction,
Vincent Lee also has an extensive experience in various grass-roots community organisations and groups, some of which have been the core subjects of his films.

Kırmızı Şemsiye
Kırmızı Şemsiye – The Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association is a sex worker led organisation in Turkey.

Alli Logout
Alli Logout is a video, sound, and performance artist from the middle of nowhere, Texas. Currently based in New Orleans, Logout’s drive to create is fuelled by the construction, and destruction of identity: What does it mean to be a black queer person from the South?

Looking specifically at trauma as the shape that black and queer reality has been moulded to, Logout strives to bridge the gap between the media’s perceptions of these identities, and who these individuals (such as themself) truly are.

Matt Lambert
Matt Lambert is a Berlin-based filmmaker and photographer whose work often explores themes of queer identity and expression of intimacy.

Anna Wistreich
Making The Sex Workers Opera
The Sex Worker’s Opera is a multimedia production written and performed by sex worker artists and their friends. Breaking through stigma and stereotypes with music spanning from Opera to “Hip-Hopera”, incorporating sound art, projections and poetry. It offers an unflinchingly honest, upliftingly human insight into the lives of sex workers around the world.

Every Ho I Know Say So was a community collaboration produced by Lusty Day and Beef Jerky in 2010. The motivation for the project came from seeing similar issues and struggles come up in our relationships and the relationships of our sex worker friends. Navigating romantic and sexual lives while working in the sex industry is a unique and complex experience and we wanted a resource that was made by sex workers that we could direct partners of sex workers to when they needed some support or perspective. We filmed sex workers in our communities over 3 countries, Australia, North America (at the Desiree Alliance Conference) and Canada. Ten years later this resource is still available on Youtube and has nearly 50 000 views.

Labor 2019
Labor Exhibition. Photos by Anna Linder.
Labor 2019
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Labor 2019
Q&A with Julian Curico and people who are part of Tove Pils ongoing project