REFLECTIONS AROUND THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 IN OUR SCENE
21.05.20 - 18h YOUTUBE
For this talk Karmaklubb* has invited some of our beloved partners in Bergen, western Norway which we would have worked with at this moment and during spring making seminars, talks, clubs, and other events bringing people together — elements of what we consider as important creating an open feminist queer discourse and welcoming community building practice.
We will touch upon the impact of the virus situation and how it has affected values and ways of working, but also why we do what we do, and how to keep the culture alive when we can not gather.
All members of the talk are from the visual arts, dance and performance, music, DJing and nightlife, as well as organisations working for equality and visibility — and/or ‘in between’ all of these sectors. We love hybridity. Until we can meet in real life: Please join us virtually.
I am Tine Semb, someone that was born again at the age of 33 .... But the reason I am here is because I run Karmaklubb*, a nomadic queer open club concept and conversational platform that consists of panels, talks, gatherings, curatorial work, research in various forms, writing, publishing, hosting … And somehow Karmaklubb* is this ‘organism’ fusing all my biggest interests: people, joy, music, art, thinking, and learning.
I like to build stuff in general. Everything from shelves and other furniture to ‘building with words’ or InDesign… to solid relationships. I am not that much into one night stands. And I am an editor of a Norwegian art journal.
I know that I am very lucky to randomly have been born at this tiny spot on the globe where things are feeling more or less ‘safer’, at least for now. But I think the last months have shaken everyone’s ground at a more or less existential level. The first thing I experienced was my already existing heartbreak being amplified … as I was in quaranteene. And it literally eats energy being afraid of possible outcomes of the situation (read Paul B. Preciado’s text on life after COVID-19: ‘The Losers Conspiracy’, Artforum, 26 March 2020: https://www.artforum.com/slant/the-losers-conspiracy-82586). The status that we have seen in other countries, and the actual possibility that ‘I’ could bring the virus on to someone else; that again makes you distance from the ones you love. And, I am anxious that people get too used to this situation, and forget that it is not at all passé … It might not for a long time, and the essential point: Can’t do it all by ourselves, we must stick together on this.
When it comes to daily life I usually work a lot, and that has not at all changes during the situation — in fact the opposite. Especially since I had one of my most intensive months of work ever just before the lockdown, to schedule the biggest projects till this date throughout 2020. I also felt this enormous resistance against ‘going all virtual’ — which we did, but only through April. But when the shock has sort of stabilised in society as a whole, and people start looking inwards — which could be both very positive, but also dangerous and cause depression and such — even the internet becomes a … void. You feel like talking to a screen, a ghost, it is all very weird, even bizarre.
Luckily Karmaklubb* got some funding from the Freedom of Expression Foundation to be able to shuffle the programme for 2020 to focusing on the research part of the activity with invited partners writing and ‘thinking out loud’, sharing their processes. Projects that will take months, and demands focus and concentration, which this strange limbo sort of does. And until we can meet again, safely, that will be the activity: writing, publishing listening sets and podcasts based on the research being done, and a few artworks.
— I think the most important I can bring in is what keeps a project like Karmaklubb* going, being alive and vital. Karmaklubb* is a ‘space’ that grow out of friendships and actually realising that humans can be amazing beings … and the joy of meeting nice people (cross genders, bodies, backgrounds, age). And it is about queerness (both ‘queer as approach’ and at a personal and sexual level), and a belief in that elements such as music, joy, art, dance, publishing, food, beer (Karmaklubb* is also doing that), and natural wine — not necessary in that order — but that through those things allowing people to share and unite around ‘something’, change is possible. So what Karma* is trying to do is to dissolve borders, and work for creating a space where people are kinder to each other, and where they can be just … themselves, and happier. Sounds like a cliché, perhaps, so does the name ‘Karmaklubb’, but yes … the whole projects is about some of the most fundamental things in life, and one of the very few things that most of us can actually agree on: love and joy.
Not to be confused with ‘escapism’ per se; I totally think it is important to be anchored in the present, especially considering the situation we are in now. But hopefully those things we experience as important when things are precarious, are — or will be — the same things we care about and value in ‘normal daily life’.
I just hope we learn from all this, that it is temporarily, and that we get out of it as a bit more whole, clever, and kind beings. I hope. And that probably involve various ways of living and working in the long run.
Tell me your favorite track at the moment.
I am into the deep these days. It has to be a rather obscure bass jewel by DJ Linus: ‘Impulses’ from the ‘Subsoil EP’ (2005) that I have not yet managed to find as an online file, but you could listen to a crappy snippet here (after all, it gives an impression!).
And this is insane, almost 8 minutes of dark, rumbling melodic tech-house, even some dense and steamy tribal, with a very queer twist: Dennis Cruz, ‘Cookies’ (2018).
Recommend us something else.
I would say look at the sky, sleep, and reflect … But I came across some 90s art activism, or so-called cyberfeminism, that managed to grasp my interest in such a new way:
and ‘slogans’ such as “the clitoris is a direct line to the matrix” … It is super nerdy, but clever, serious, and fun, all at the same time. In particular I love how they are able to lurk in that humor, even though the issues they are working on (unfortunately) are dead serious, and still so much alive.