Painful Knowledge/ Knowledge In Pain— An Elegy/Offering
A Performance by the Queer Futures Collective
Directed/Performed by: Krizia Puig & Sav Schlauderaff
Video Editor/Animator: Shoshana Schlauderaff
Contributors: Layla Zbinden & Sheema Khawar
“Painful Knowledge/Knowledge in Pain.— An Elegy/Offering” is a multimedia installation and performance piece that aims to question the understanding of graduate school as a process of debilitation in which pain, suffering, and unwellness are considered a “ritual of initiation” to academic life; and a necessity for knowledge production. Through a live performance of the experimental video poems “graduate school has made me sick”; “Spectacularly Crippled: On Academia, Disability and Institutionalized Pity”; and “Fractal Families/Queer Debris: What Happens When Queer Family is Spatially Fractured?”—We theorize/explore the affects & effects that the perpetuation of ableist and exploitative practices within academic spaces have on our bodies, minds, and spirits as disabled queer/trans folks. We create an intimate and generative space to collectively reflect upon the cost and potentialities of producing painful knowledge/knowledge in pain—to honor the many nonlinear processes of birth, slow death, and re-birth that become an unrecognized quotidian offering made for/by disabled scholars. We envision strategies of resistance and transformation by centering queer crip forms of relationality.
This was performed at the Society for Disability Studies conference at the Ohio State University on April 7, 2019. This trailer video of the performance includes recordings from our collective piece written by our queer chosen family “Fractal Families/Queer Debris: What Happens When Queer Family is Spatially Fractured?”
Fractal Families/Queer Debris:
What Happens When Queer Family is Spatially Fractured?
Together, we believe in hope. Queerness is beyond individual identity, it is about escaping limited forms of relating to each other and reimagining forms of community care. Queerness is about our chosen families—our queer families. We strive to live intimate relationships beyond heteronormative imaginations of what constitutes a “best friend,” relationships that are about radical intimacy, survival, and interspersed ecstatic timespaces of shared utopia.
We wanted to give space (this is a space) to have you touch, experience, feel, imagine and reinvent queer chosen family as written by those who we consider ours.
Sav: What does queer family mean to you? What does queer family feel like?
How do you work to create community care networks within your chosen family? How do you center care, radical vulnerability, kindness and accountability within your queer chosen family?
Sheema (@KhawarSheema): For me, finding and being with queer fam has been about rethinking love, connections and relationships. And perspective I desperately needed on me and my relationships. Today this queer chosen family means having my heart and my home in multiple places and timezones.
Sav (@SavTheQueer/ @SavSchlauderaff): Queer family means being able to talk about trauma without having to assuage pity and shock. It means having similar closeted childhoods. It means always having your people there to make you laugh--even if it’s laugh-crying.
Layla (@LaylaMina_): Queer fam transcends the here and now. Queer fam offers portals to the futures that are possible. Futures where bonds with others are not rooted in expectation for carrying the weight of others at the expense of holding your own. Futures where we have networks within and through each other to carry each other, and when one of us is in pain we all are, when one of us succeeds we all do, when one of us is thriving we all thrive - we are interconnected.
Krizia (@kriziapuig): I know because I can feel the beat of your heart with the same rhythm as mine from far apart. I can see our connection as a spectral light. It is about those networks across timespaces—the pain and the wonder that our souls have shared for ages. Fostering queer family is a way of finding connections that save us from the emotional genocide experienced by queer/disabled trans folks. It is about another way to love.
Questions to consider:
For the handouts used during the performance please visit the ephemera gallery for this performance.
How does your bodymind feel? What about your spirit? Use three emojis to describe how your bodymindspirit feels? What is your pain level on a scale of 1-10 (more emojis!!)?
Is there a less painful way to be a scholar? To be an activist? To be a human?
Who is there to hold your pain? Who is your family? Your care network? Who do you turn to to laugh? To cry?
What does queer family mean to you? How do you work to create community care networks within your chosen family? How do you center care, radical vulnerability, kindness, patience & accountability within queer chosen family?
Who was the last human/ non-human/ more-than-human being you said I love you to? Can you describe it?
How do you love across timespaces?