Symposium: Drama Department, Queen Mary University, London (Thursday 8 February, 2018)

Live Art Event: Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, London (Saturday 10 February, 2018)

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CUNTemporary is now accepting proposals for a new episode of ‘Deep Trash’, the unique multi-disciplinary exhibition and performance club night in London.

Calling for performances, videos and artworks to be shown on Saturday 10 February 2018 at Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. We accept proposals by artists of any artistic background and nationality. We are also keen to hear from writers, artists and academics responding to the call either in written form (theory and cross-genre) or through performative lectures, which will be presented during the symposium ‘Love, Pain & Intimacy in Live Art’. This will be hosted by the Department of Drama at Queen Mary University on Thursday 8 February 2018, with a keynote talk by Dr. Dominic Johnson. Our headline guest artist for the live art night will be Nicola Hunter.

This call looks at the dimensions of romance and intimacy, desire and love, their political potential and their subversive power. We welcome proposals that engage with discourses of queerness, feminism, Blackness, diasporic, postcolonial approaches and related artistic frameworks.

This event’s applications may include, respond to, be affected by, but not restricted to:

  • Queer anarchy and polyamory as subversions of monogamy and heteronormativity.
  • Love in non-conforming bodies: the experience of sexuality for non-binary people and trans, disabled or sick bodies.
  • Religious faith, spiritual practices and their effects on sexuality: from mysticism to emancipation.
  • ‘The Erotic as Power’ (Audre Lorde): Black lesbian feminist experience and collectivity.
  • Impersonal Intimacy: gay cruising and queer love making in public and/or in collective gatherings.
  • The political potential of love and affect for the collective organising of feminist and queer movements.
  • Deconstructing binary modes of sexuality: butch/femme, top/bottom, active/passive, s&m, asexual/sexual etc.
  • Queer-feminist kinship: ethics of care and trust in non-blood relations.
  • Interrogating love, sex and violence within queer relationships.
  • Contemporary approaches to female sexuality and desire as a subversion of patriarchy.
  • Toxic masculinities in male-identified subjects: critiques of the eroticisation of violence against women and feminine subjects.
  • Medea’s ‘bad romance’: critiques and subversions of the representation of women as fatal, revengeful, female lovers, mothers and wives.
  • Re-imagining non-phallic modes of love and desire.
  • Perverse sexualities and object choices: fetishistic love affairs with the inanimate (e.g. shoes, motors, food and corpses).
  • ‘To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance’ (Oscar Wilde): radical narcissism, passionate singularity, self-marriage.
  • Exploring the ethics of love without objectification: from relational modes of sociality to reciprocity and response-ability.
  • Romancing the machine: responses to the role of artificial intelligence and digital communication for sex and love, from Siri, bots and avatars to Grindr, online dating frauds, scams and ‘catfishing’.
  • Inter-species love affairs and eco-love: queering the rituals of normative courtship and sexual practice at the intersections of human and animal/natural realms.
  • Dark romanticism: celebrating melancholic, gothic, witchy, grotesque and/or occult love affairs.
  • From ‘Blue Velvet’ to ’50 shades of Grey’: feminist critiques of obsessive and misogynist behaviours under the guise of love and desire.
  • The romanticisation of history: from glossing over the horrors of colonialism to the idealization of a past relationship with the colonised.
  • The performance and experience of intimacy and romance in sex work and pornography.
  • Prince charming, damsels in distress, ugly sisters and the ‘happily ever after’: deconstructing the gender binary and addressing the lack of people of colour in mainstream fairy-tales.
  • Queer-feminist responses to hentai, Shunga prints, the role of geishas and Japanese erotica.
  • From Kama Sutra to the ‘One Thousand and One Nights’: non-Western approaches to love, sex and courtship.
  • Love across and beyond borders: marriage as a political strategy, geopolitical difficulties and differences, queer migrations.
  • Latinx songs of seduction and love across the oceans: reinterpreting morna, rancheras, tango, flamenco, fado, etc.
  • Family interferences in love and sexual relationships: critical queer and feminist responses.

To apply, first make sure that your application relates to any of the Open Call bullet points and the OVERALL THEME of the event. Then, please email submissions@cuntemporary.org with the heading “DT Romance Application” by Friday 1 December 2017 midnight (UK time). Please include the following information in your application [copy-paste the following text]:

  • Name(s), Surname(s)
  • Artistic name [for press use]
  • Place of Residency [City, Country]
  • Telephone number
  • Please state which MEDIUM you are applying with [SELECT ONLY ONE]: performance / performative lecture / sculpture / installation / printed work / video / other [please indicate]
  • Please state the LENGTH or approx. DIMENSION of the submitted work
  • Please state if the work is [SELECT]: new / already existing / in process
  • A written proposal [No more than 300 words]
  • Website of the artist/collective or portfolio
  • Up to 5 images of the work (if available). [Should you be shortlisted, we will require 1-3 high res images for press use].


All your data is confidential and is only used for the purposes of this open call. We will respond to all applications by Friday 5 January 2018.

The jury will include curator Giulia Casalini, the team at CUNTemporary, previous Deep Trash headline artists, academics from Queen Mary University’s English and Drama department, the Live Art Development Agency as well as guest writers and curators. The programme is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.


Application Notes:

Performances should be max 10-15min long for the main stage. However, we welcome other lengths and formats (e.g. one to one, endurance, interactive performances…) for other spaces.

If you are submitting a written contribution, this can be published on our online editorial. Performative lectures will be assigned to the symposium.

Because of the nature of the event, exhibition printed copies will be displayed instead of original artworks. Please note that if you want to show an original artwork, these cannot be insured and we will not be liable for any damages. Painting submissions will be considered for printed reproduction [please send a high definition image].

Performances and lectures will be awarded with a flat fee which should include travel costs. The fee ranges from £70-£150 which will depend on the overall project budget and number of people involved. We do not cover the costs of exhibiting artworks or videos. In some cases, we can cover costs for installation purposes. If your participation requires a specific type of reimbursement, please include that in your application.

Only 1 submission per artist/collective is accepted.


About ‘Deep Trash’:

During a time when public and private spaces are narrowing their ability to accommodate the concerns and lives of non-normative and non-binary subjects, events such as Deep Trash are crucial in bringing together a community of people interested in the themes of sexuality, gender, creativity and politics, with an intersectional and transnational approach. Check out the Deep Trash manifesto for more information.


Join the Open Call on Facebook and watch trailers of our previous events on Youtube.


Contact Information:

info@cuntemporary.org [for general info]

submissions@cuntemporary.org [for submissions ONLY]

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