documenta 14 Public Programs expresses solidarity with its collaborator (AMOQA) Athens Museum of Queer Arts and shares its call for support here.
AMOQA (will continue) Spreading Homosexuality
On October 10, 2016 the City Court of Athens rejected AMOQA (Athens Museum of Queer Arts)’s request for setting up an association (order number 323/2016). The rejection was based on suspicion by the District Court that AMOQA aims at “spreading homosexuality” and that the proposed association has “hidden commercial purposes.”
The city court should have no suspicion about our will to promote homosexuality but they should be absolutely certain about it. When we filed the statute for the creation of the association, we have clearly mentioned that our main purpose is to promote LGBTQI (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer and Intersex) and feminist history and cultural production. Furthermore, the formal rejection from the district court stated that “the real purpose of the association” and “the means to achieve its purposes” are unclear, insufficient and vague. Our answer with regards to our means, aims and results is this:
AMOQA started with the financial help from a five-month German scholarship in March 2016. Since then, it has hosted more than 40 open and accessible events such as performances, film screenings on body politics, art exhibitions, art workshops, lectures on gender issues, open discussions around the idea of a queer archive, music gigs and other workshops that aimed at producing culture. We hosted events in our space, at Erigonis 3 in Kato Petralona and other public places such as the Greek Film Archive Foundation, documenta 14 - Parko Eleftherias, Green Park - (non) performance as method, Ethnographic Museum of Stockholm - the unstraight museum international conference) where we met with artists, academics, activists, and many people from local and international feminist and LGBTQI + community. AMOQA also serves as an open platform where various activist feminist LGBTQI+ collectives find a safe place for meetings and events. We are currently sharing our space with Rainbow Families (a group of queer parents) and the self-organized group “Proud Parents” (a group of parents with LGBTQI+ children). In addition to that we aspire starting a LGBTQI+ and feminist archive, in an attempt to cartography marginalised histories, the past the present and the future of greek LGBTQI+ movement and pieces from our daily life, experiences, desires, dreams, our struggles and anxieties.
With the money from the initial fellowship AMOQA managed to rent a space, open it up to a community of people, make its facilities accessible to people with mobile diversities, pay wages to members of the LGBTQI+ community, perform various functions (research, programming, translations, subtitling, sign language interpretation in Greek), offer material support to related projects, invite activists of different ages and backgrounds, artists and academics from the East and the West in order to build links and networks of solidarity and inspiration. After the end of the scholarship, AMOQA continued to function as a self-managed space, having great difficulties to cover expenses, although the events multiplied and interest from the community grew.
If for the city court of Athens and the court officials the above is perceived as unclear, inadequate, vague, or even more provocatively as “suspicious” we have to admit on our side that if we have learnt something over the years it is to exactly to recognize the thousand and one “innocent” words institutions use in order to discriminate against minorities.
Invoking the disruption of “public order” and the attack to “morality,” words which further embellished the negative decision on the establishment of our association, traditionally belong in the toolbox of the idiom of all discrimination within and beyond the law.
With regards to our potential hidden commercial purposes, the suspicion is linked to AMOQA’s statement that we intent to produce culture, using all artistic means: the writing and publishing, music and visual arts production, film production and film on social, queer and feminist issues. What they do not explain in the decision is how is that suspicious or where in the world does queer feminist cultural production results in profitable business. We consider the decision as yet another example in a long list of the systemic and repeated homophobia, transphobia and misogyny embedded in Greek society.
AMOQA will continue to exist independently of any court order. The promotion of homosexuality and other queer practices and identities is the purpose of AMOQA and we will continue to demand the presence of our identities and practices openly and publicly.
As a means to achieve this aim we choose art, theory and activism.