Text - Design Research - (Self-) Publishing

library of unruly fashion practices 

Collaborated as a research assistant, graphic designer, writer and producer with Hanka van der Voet (Warehouse) on the initiative Library of Unruly Fashion practices. Hanka van der Voet and I presented the initiative during the ‘WAYS OF CARING – PRACTICING SOLIDARITY’ International Fashion Conference June 30 & July 1, 2022 Arnhem.

The Library of Unruly Fashion Practices is a counter-archiving initiative by Hanka van der Voet. The projects that centers anti-capitalist, queer, feminist and decolonial perspectives on fashion, clothing and identity. In addition to the initial design and production of the library, Tjerre Lucas worked on invitation by the Library of Unruly Fashion to create new work on the basis of the text/publication selected by them, in order to (re)publish the archive and to make public texts/publications that have been ignored in fashion education and academia.

Tjerre Lucas’s contribution The Malicious Fairies and Their Fight for Salvation  is a triptych of screen printed historical pamphlets, regarding queer liberation and the history of queer acts, found within the archive of IHLIA (Internationaal Ho-mo/Lesbisch Informatiecentrum en Archief) & an essay on republishing and revising the history of queer acts and activism as a way to exist outside the heteropatriarchal and capitalist modes of success, capital accumulation and commodification processes of queering identities and liberations.

The Malicious Fairies

and Their Fight for Salvation

ABSTRACT - Being invited to participate in the project Library of Unruly Fashion Practices I saw an opportunity to shine light on the often forgotten history of queer acts, queering2 narratives and queer ancestors. Via a series of screen printed textiles, I have re-published a triptych of historical pamphlets, found within the archive of IHLIA. Through re-publishing such liberational tactics, via a garment-like-object, I aim to place their content and contexts in a locale in which many of these queer stories have, outside the commodified manners in which we contemporary celebrate ‘pride’, not been seen- or heard of.  As through the act of wearing it, its meaning will no longer only exist in archives or in spaces of critical and queer practice and therefore functions as an insurgent sharpening the tools for queer revolt and argues for non-commodified manners of celebration and remembrance.

Relating to the ideas of Paul Soulellis and his project Queer Typography, in which he states that “There is no queer typography, only queer acts of reading and writing3, I believe that there is no such thing as ‘queer history’. When looking at history, you will find a defining narrative in which the history of queerness is often left out. Therefore when searching for [and publishing] such a history, we’re going to find a multitude of queer acts of doing, queer narratives and queer stories.  Through deliberately choosing to abandon the term ‘queer history’ and use the phrase ‘history of queer acts’, I distance my practice from the patriarchal and queerphobic structures of historical writing and publishing. Structures that have produced limitational privileges that determine who it is that succeeds; and inevitably who is not written into history. “For queer insurgents, then, recovering our history from obscurity and recuperation is a necessary element of struggle. If we do not critically engage this history, we not only lose analytical tools that could aid the spread and sharpening of our revolt, but also abandon the dead to vultures who reduce everything to image and commodity.4
In the fifty years after the flourish of the queer movement, queer bodies have found themselves gaining rights and have seen a significant decrease in the policing of their lives. All of which ignited during the Stonewall Riots of 1969 and the early pride marches that brought queer people together and served as deviant gatherings in which queer people demanded action.  Over the years, Pride Parades have morphed themselves from activist movements into colorful, joyful and sanitized festivities for the greater masses. In this transformational process from coarse activism to celebratory pride, we have seemed to forget to pridefully remember that the first pride was in fact a riot. We (un)willingly forget that the entire experience and existence of our queer bodies, eroticism and intimacy have been framed by the penetration of market relations into every niche of our queer lives and the stories told about queer liberation.  “Desire is displaced from our bodies onto commodities that seem to contain all the best of humanity. The advertising industry seeks to mobilize this displacement, reminding us of the essential sexiness of every product.5 Queer bodies then can only be desired insofar they can take on the allure of commodities; only becomes visibly queer through the deployment of particular market goods and services.6 In this context, commodification has created a fixed homogenous imagery on how the queer body must look, feel, smell, touch, celebrate, and inevitably exist. Therefore [queer] consumerism is in fact bondage. Queer identities have been framed, tied up in leather straps, ball gagged and sold as perfect commodities. “Thus, our communities exist largely in the form of exclusionary market spaces; our real diversity is obscured by the dominance of homogenous images.7

To represent the coarse history of queer struggle and the unchained history of queer acts and liberation, I wish to argue for camp interpretations of these political pamphlets and narratives. Camp is a way of looking at things, a way of exaggeration and stylization. As Sontag noted within Notes on ‘camp’; “The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration. And Camp is esoteric - something of a private code, a badge of identity even, among small urban cliques8 But moreso, camp has shapen itself to be a private identification for queer identities using forms of self-satire. Therefore such a camp interpretation is not only a choice of style and aestheticism, it is a way of visually connecting oneselves to the historical subversion of queerness. Camp is, as Gornick stated,  “a malicious fairy’s joke whose point is its raging put-on of the middle classes; those very classes which have always denied the homosexual his existence.”9 The campy queer might just be that malicious fairy; A malicious fairy that has shaped itself into a protagonist roaming between the dominant realities of the heterosexual, and the subversive realties of the queer, always chanting its existence via the coarse and devine visual and textual attributes of camp. I believe that camp and its seeming foolishness, exaggeration, and absurdity attribute to “its apparent critical weightlessness, its seeming unconcern with the problems of financial capital and the subsequent international divisions of labor, in short camp’s frequent refusal to be taken seriously10, allows for critical attitudes to arise.
Revising the history of queer acts and activism within camp’s stylings, offers ways of existing outside the hetero-patriarchial and capitalist modes of success and capital accumulation. It is a way of blatantly stating our non-conformity. 

  1.  Similar as to how Sarah Ahmed uses the term within Queer Phenomenology (2006), a queering practice refers to all disorientated practices; bodies and ways of doing that ‘fail’ to follow the orientation of the horizontal and the vertical and ‘choose’ to live and act on a disorientating axes. The queering practice then becomes the practice that will not overcome their disalingment of the horizontal and vertical orientation (the white world; the heteronormative world; the men’s world) and therefore allows the oblique to open up other angles on viewing the world
  2. Soulellis, P. (2021). What is Queer Typography?. Queer.Archive.Work.
  4.  Sears, A. (2005). Queer anti-capitalism: What’s left of Lesbian and gay liberation? Science & Society, 69(1), 92–112.
  5. Ibid.
  6.  Ibid
  7. Sontag, S. (1964). “Notes on ‘Camp’”. Partisan Review. 31 (4): 515–530.
  8. Gornick, V. “It’s a Queer Hand That Stokes the Campfire” Village Voice, 7 April 1966.
  9. Tinkcom, M. (2002) Working Like a Homosexual; Camp, Capital, Cinema. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

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