Title of course: Queer Labour; how, when
Teaching period: 11 – 15 March 2024
Tutor: Vidisha-Fadescha

This seminar will provide participants with the opportunity to absorb and discuss artworks and texts (both fiction and non-fiction), and to explore different methods of collective care including embodied practices. Looking at first-person accounts of the dissident, divergent, outcast, racialised or punished, we will witness to sites and forms of Queer Labour, the labour of surviving the everyday.

During the week we will assay ‘Qworkaholics Anonymous’, a project by Vidisha-Fadescha, that reimagines the format of de-addiction programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and creates a time and space for individuals from marginalised communities to acknowledge and celebrate the labour of their very act of survival. Such labour is often dismissed as unproductive by the neoliberal order, whose measures fail to consider the exhaustion that comes from navigating the obstacles faced by individuals who are not a part of, or those who do not align with, the hegemony, and are tired of constantly having to prove their worth and defend their identities.

In a society that values isolation and self-abandonment, over self and collective care, it is a radical act to prioritise one’s own needs and well-being. For those who have historically been oppressed and marginalised, setting boundaries, saying no, and prioritising self-love is a form of resistance. Together, we will read through the twelve steps of ‘Qworkaholics Anonymous’ designed to de-addict from the ‘burnout’ faced while doing this labour, through a metaphysical connection with ourselves and our peers. 

The seminar will be guided by emotion and intuition, rather than tire to succeed theoretically.

Vidisha-Fadescha is an artist, curator and cultural critic. Holding their lived experience of a radical gender, caste, race and disability, Fadescha suggests centering one’s own body and desire towards liberation. Their artistic work includes video, sound installations, text, and performance. They direct collective practices as a norm-critical pedagogy to queer hegemony.

Fadescha’s curatorial project, Party Office, is an anti-caste, anti-racist, trans-feminist, art and social, space and time that was founded in New Delhi in 2020. Through publications, grants, archives, conversations of life-lived, social gatherings, and more, they are building transnational dialogues on empathetic futures, care communities, and radical agency.

In 2023, Vidisha participated in projects with Prince Claus Fund Biennial Symposium (Colombo), Survival Kit 14 (Riga), Rehearsing Moves on Hazy Paths (at ZK/U Berlin), Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (Vilnius / Nida), Kunst im Untergrund (organised by nGbK Berlin), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art (Sydney), and was a lumbung artist at documenta fifteen, Kassel in 2022. They are an artist at the Lagos Biennial in 2024. Fadescha’s work has been published in arts and cultural magazines including FriezeFlash ArtTexte zur KunstMetropolis MHyperallergicMezosferaAperture MagazineArt in AmericaGalerieDazed, and Vogue.