Residing in the Borderlands

For Take IV of our year-long, monthly film series Residing in the Borderlands we are thrilled to have Liz Rosenfeld with us. Liz is an artist working across film/video, live performance, and discursive writing practices. On the occasion of this event, Liz Rosenfeld will be opening with a reading of her new text “This Should Happen Here More Often,” which unpacks how cruising has been an integral practice informing both her artistic and personal life for over 20 years in major urban centers such as New York and Berlin. Afterwards, we will screen the classic gay pornograghic film A Night at The Adonis, which is set at the infamous Adonis Theater in New York City and has been very influential for Liz. 

Liz writes: 

“As a young person growing up in New York, The Times Square neighborhood always felt like the real heart of the city. In the early 1990’s, I fell in love with a girl for the first time, I smoked my first cigarette, went to my first ACT UP protest, and even tried my first failed attempt at sneaking into a porno, all within walking distance of the Adonis Theater. I can’t remember when I initially came across A Night at The Adonis, but for me this film has always been representative of a queer potential and the threshold crossing that New York City embraced during the time that is referred to as ‘The Golden Age.’ I have repeatedly returned to A Night at The Adonis as both a personal and artistic reference in which I continue to explore and understand my own queer desire and sexuality through a history of queer cruising practices.”

We are proud to be able to screen this film as a document of its era, but also as a commentary – at times subtly through the racial and sexual hierarchies of cruising and at times explicitly through references to key texts such as Jonathan Katz’s Gay American History, and Rita Mae Brown’s Rubyfruit Jungle – on sexual desire, gentrification, and gender politics in cruising spaces. Although the film centers cis gay men’s experiences in New York City, we will use it as a point of departure to ask questions such as: What does it mean to be genderfluid and/or female identified in cruising spaces? Why has cruising historically only existed as a sub-culture for cis- gay men? What parallels can be made to contemporary cruising culture in Berlin?      

Our monthly film series Residing in the Borderlands intends to create a cartography of Berlin through diasporic perspectives. As part of our diasporic place-making, we explore different film worlds, considering both the visual and auditory. Through the cinematic experience, we aspire to reach another way of being present, thinking of film as a means of movement that can also propel us into previously unthought of futures. The film screenings are followed by a discussion in which the guest locates themself within the city and talks about points of intersection with the different communities to which they belong. 

LIZ ROSENFELD is a Berlin-based performance artist and filmmaker. She explores questions regarding the sustainability of emotional and political ecologies, cruising as a personal and creative methodology, past and future histories and the ways in which memory is queered. Her current performance work approaches flesh as a collaborative material, and the potential in physical abundance and excess, specifically in regards to contemporary dance practice. Her recent filmic work is specifically looking at the reality of resistance in the face of impending apocalypse and how generational perspectives and desires are informed by and shift as a result of ecological rebellion. Her videos have been screened in numerous international museums and cultural spaces. She is currently a featured performer in Shu Lea Cheang's video work, 3x3x6, curated by Paul Preciado and representing Taiwan in the 2019 Venice Biennale. She is also part of the Berlin moving image collective NowMomentNow. Her newest expanded experimental 360* cinema work, White Sands Crystal Foxes, will premiere at the Berlin Planetarium in 2020. Her first feature film, FOXES, is in development.