I. All Souls of the Queer Departed
All Souls of the Queer Departed is an essay-poem. The work seeks to voice and embody a gesture of transmission. The text is the result of an extended translation process. It is based upon my experience as first participating in, then subsequently teaching a death ritual practice. This practice was developed by queer people in San Francisco during the ‘80s in response to the impact of HIV/AIDS on their community. My personal encounter with it initiated an exploration of different forms for expressing and sharing the practice collectively.
In March 2019, I participated in a death ritual workshop guided by Jassem Hindi as part of a research residency in Oslo organised by choreographer Mia Habib. After the workshop, I made a series of drawings.
In June 2019, I performed a reading and conducted a workshop in Venice as part of “Beyond Repair,” a study gathering conceived by the artist Natascha Süder Happelmann as part of the public programme of the German Pavilion. The reading acted as preparation for the death ritual workshop held the next day in the ruins of 16th century military barracks on the Lido di Venezia.
The text of “All Souls of the Queer Departed” was written over the course of autumn 2019. It will be published with its accompanying drawings in the forthcoming Beyond Repair reader (Archive Books, 2020). As a continuation of its further translative potential, the text was performed by the Ruskin DPhil cohort as a collective reading exercise in January 2020.