CUNTemporary is a non-profit organisation that works with individuals and groups that explore feminist, queer and decolonial art practices and theories. CUNTemporary provides a newsletter and daily listings of events related to feminist and queer art practices in the UK.
The events team curates talks, screenings, exhibitions, performances, events and club nights with the participation of a multidisciplinary and international group of artists, performers and theorists, mainly in London, but also around the UK and abroad.
We welcome networking and collaborative opportunities from curators, academics, artists, activists, institutions and alternative venues.
As an organisation we have remained entirely self-funded since our establishment in 2012, and have been organising our activities thanks to a dedicated team of designers, artists, technicians, researchers, editors and curators.
QUEER & FEMINISM
We consider queer and feminist practices as methods that are capable of destabilising artistic production through processes of interrogation, decentralisation and criticism.
The contemporary feminisms and queer practices that we work with aim to reclaim space not only for a plurality of genders and sexualities, but also for those bodies and discourses that are non-white, non-western, non-able or otherwise excluded from mainstream culture, politics and economic systems.
Feminist and queer aesthetics have a rich and significant legacy, manifest in the recent boom of exhibitions and public events dealing with the subject matter, held at institutions, museums, galleries and non-traditional spaces. We aim to strengthen and contribute to this cultural manifestation by expanding the current discourses to include radical and less explored perspectives.
In March 2012, CUNTemporary started its activity by searching for London-based events, conferences, open calls and exhibitions related to queer and feminist politics and aesthetics. CUNTemporary has been functioning as a platform for events submissions with the aim of giving visibility to events that might not be listed in popular press or which take place outside institutional parameters.
These listings have since been delivered in both newsletter and social media format in order to create an archive of events that will facilitate research, promote and encourage attendance. Our newsletter is distributed through Facebook, Twitter and a growing mailing list, which currently holds 6000+ members. The newsletter features CUNTemporary’s activities as well as the events submitted to listings. To include your event in our newsletter please contact us with details of your event.
As a creative team, we promote freedom of expression and aim to tackle themes that are difficult in their subject matter or considered ‘not serious’ enough by the cultural mainstream. In this way we aim to bring to the fore creative practices that make explicit use of lived experiences and how they relate to broader politics and social inequalities such as gender-based violence, rape culture, disability, state and institutional corruption, and a number of discriminations experienced in the neo-liberal West that prides itself for its diversity.
Cultural industries often exclude or “closet” artists that identify as, or reference queerness, feminism, gender and sexual politics, labour injustices and non-white discourses. This also results in marginalising alternative modes of production. As a curatorial team, our aim is to facilitate and curate aesthetically and politically challenging projects in response to the lack of visibility and the difficulties in presenting such work within mainstream media and institutions.
We believe that open calls provide a way to curate through a fairer mode of artistic participation and selection. We use open calls to give a platform to artists who have yet to be discovered or are at an early stage in their career. We encourage established artists to participate in order to create a non-hierarchical, intergenerational, intersectional and transcultural dialogue.
We encourage artists to explore their creative expressions by taking risks with new art forms and radical ideas. We aim to strengthen our artistic community by engaging in dialogue, cross-collaboration, co-creation and sharing of experiences. Our ethos questions the specificities of different spaces and their publics in order to dissolve the boundaries between artists, audiences, society and politics.
Our organisation has supported and organised events and exhibitions for international initiatives such as One Billion Rising (London, UK, 2013), projects such as the first Pride Festival in Cyprus (2014) and Genderotica Festival (Rome, Italy, 2015).
We have worked with and in diverse venues, ranging from international festivals, occupied spaces, nightclubs, public spaces and institutions. Among the latter are: CCCB, Barcelona, Peltz Gallery, London, Royal Academy, London, The Showroom, London, FACT, Liverpool, the ICA, London, Villa Croce Museum, Genoa, Italy, Point Centre for Contemporary Art, Nicosia, Cyprus, the Royal College of Art, London. We have also worked with municipalities for street interventions and community projects, at the same time also targeting alternative venues and publics to produce site-specific work beyond the gallery space.
Our own initiatives have also led to the creation of a sister organisation, Archivio Queer Italia, which consists of a platform at the intersections of queer art and activism in Italy. Launched at the Verona Art Fair (2013), this ambitious experiment is now an independent platform for academics, artists and activists. In connection to this project, we produced Teoremi, the first performance festival in Italy to address discrimination based on gender and sexual expression.
We have also launched the regular performance-art-exhibition & club night Deep Trash, which features a one-night art exhibition and a performance art platform, within the context of a club night. Each Deep Trash event explores a different theme, and the artists are selected through an open call system.
The organisation’s name refers to the positive re-appropriation and re-claiming of the most offensive word in the British language: CUNT. This information was relayed to us whilst trying to register our organisation’s name with Companies House. The name ‘CUNTemporary’ also indirectly references the re-appropriation made of the word ‘queer’ by the trans, lesbian and gay communities in the 80s.
This has been a strategic decision in order to address and question points such as:
- The taboo, shame or disgust that surrounds the explicit or implicit reference to female genitals.
- The (ab)use of female bodily specificity as derogative or reductive adjective.
- The British language colonising the expression of non-native English-speaking subjects.
- The role of contemporary art, its social and political implications and its structures of privilege
CUNTemporary is the trading name of Arts Feminism Queer (registered company n° 8317939).