With the artists : Douxerose ; Lazare Lazarus ; Nour Beetch et Lisa Lapierre ; Manuel-Stella Kerdraon ; Maïa Izzo-Foulquier ; Vi ; Théophylle Dcx.
And archives from the Centre Grisélidis Réal, the Swiss Literary Archives, audio interviews and editions, self-publications and a selection of brochures proposed by the Librairie La Dispersion.
Easily described as “the oldest profession in the world,” sex work often evokes distorted images in the eyes of people who are not familiar with the realities experienced by sex workers. They are represented either as victims of trafficking, deprived of their capacity to act and decide for themselves, or “glamorized” through various media or film productions well known to the general public. Nevertheless, sex work remains taboo in a large part of our Western societies, because it questions the moral foundations we have on work, especially female work, on the relationship to the body and on the use capital makes of it. Influenced by some writings which nourished us politically and by our own experiences, this exhibition wishes to put forward the artistic work of sex workers recognized or not by the institutions. Also, hard hit by the current health situation, which has once again highlighted the precariousness and stigma to which sex workers are subjected, the people invited for this exhibition, give us to see all the complexities of their reality of life, work, and struggle.
In parallel to the exhibition, we propose a series of events at the bookstore La Dispersion and at the cinema Spoutnik, allowing to give voice to the people concerned and to their allies, in order to generate meetings and discussions by and for sex workers but also for a wider public.
Le collectif occasionnel
Program in parallel of the exhibition
Roundtables and discussions
Thursday, January 27, 6:30 pm at Ressources Urbaines
Representations and pedagogies around sex work with Douxerose, Jehane Zouyene, Marianne Schweizer. Simultaneous translation into Spanish and English.
This roundtable is focused on the different ways sex work exists outside of the networks of struggles and life that are close to it. How to talk about sex work as a person affected, or how to make sex work visible as an ally in cultural or academic institutions? What is at stake in making this subject exist within these institutions? How do we make the struggles related to this more accessible to an unfamiliar audience?
If we wish to ask these questions, it is because it is not simply a question of making sex workers visible as such, but because we have a lot to learn from sex work and the experiences, as diverse as they are, of sex workers. Indeed, sex work is difficult to separate today from feminist struggles and from all emancipation struggles, as it holds within it a complexity of subjects. Autonomy, the right to dispose of one’s body, the free choice to live one’s life as one wishes, self-determination, alternative economies are so many objects of reflection that shape lives and in which more global struggles can take root. The aim of this discussion is to go beyond a binary majority discourse, swinging between fetishization and miserabilism.
Without denying the diversity of realities certain people experience, we will seek, through these interventions, to understand the stakes of the existence of sex work as a source of reflection, and how it can be made more accessible. For this, we will invite Douxerose, artist, Jehane Zouyene and Marianne Schweizer from the Grisélidis Réal archive center.
Thursday, February 17, 6:30 pm at Spoutnik
Struggles and local realities with Eva-Luna for Aspasie (Geneva), Cybèle for Strass (France), Téodora Niculescu for Paloma (Nantes), Berthe de Laon for the Fédération Parapluie Rouge (France)
In Western Europe, the legislation surrounding sex work is very different from one country to another. The policy in Switzerland, for example, is one of strict regulation, but which allows for legal practice, without being able to take advantage of social benefits such as unemployment or maternity leave (unless you take out insurance). In France, one of the latest laws in force is the penalization of clients, which makes the tds even more precarious, as they are practicing in a form of illegality, without any protection, all this in an abolitionist perspective.
This round table will therefore focus on the legal situation of sex workers in France and Switzerland, from which some of the artists in the exhibition come, thanks to the invitation of representatives of several associations fighting for sex workers’ rights in these two countries. We will also discuss the differences between concepts such as abolitionism, legalization and decriminalization. This discussion will also allow us to put forward strategies of struggle and alternatives to be able to work in the best possible conditions.
Screenings at Cinéma Spoutnik
Wednesday, January 19, 8:30 pm
“Karima” by Clarisse Hahn; (98 minutes), 2003
Karima is a young dominatrix of Algerian origin that Clarisse Hahn filmed throughout 2002. The artist focuses on the diversity of the modes of relation to others. This documentary film shows Karima in the intimacy of her family, with her friends or during domination sessions. SM takes on a maternal and generous aspect for this young woman. The body appears alternately as a source of pleasure or pain, an object of adoration or disgust, a vector of emotions or an impenetrable frontier.
“Selemela and the Pleiades” by Erika Nieva Da Cunha
Eight sex workers from Maseru, Lesotho accept to be fimed, and improvise scenes in which they sometimes exchange their own roles, sometimes those of their clients.
Wednesday, February 2, 8:30 pm
“Brothers of the night” by Patric Chiha, (88 minutes), 2016
Clearly inspired by a Fasbinderian aesthetic (Querelle’s lighting and costumes are cited in the opening), with Brothers of the Night, Patric Chiha decides to tell the complex story of the lives of a few Bulgarian Roma boys who sell their bodies in a Vienna nightclub. It’s not so much the dirty everyday life of the sex trade that matters, but the theatricality, the fables that everyone here maintains, clients as well as canvassers. For there is a lot of talk here, to conjure as much as to maintain, to dream as much as to show off.
“Blue Boy” by Manuel Abramovich, (19 minutes), 2019
Seven young Romanians who prostitute themselves with men in Berlin are filmed listening to recordings of their adventures
Wednesday, February 16, 8:30 pm
“Empower” by Marianne Chargois, (72 minutes), 2018
is a series of three portraits of sex workers with heterogeneous trajectories crossing migration paths, trans identities, feminism, the fight against HIV, the fight against precariousness and discrimination.
“Porn Family” by Louise Fauroux (30 minutes), 2019
Is an intimate journey with porn stars Kasey Warner, Chloe Cherry, Jade Baked, Bella Bathory. From cleaning up dog poop on a film set to live shows, we navigate between the behind-the-scenes of everyday life and the finished pornographic products. Community is their strength and the key to their commitment.
February 23, 8:30 pm (session introduced by a reading by Lazare Lazarus)
“The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak” by Carole Roussopoulos, (45 minutes), 1975
retraces the occupation of the Saint-Nizier church in Lyon in the spring of 1975 by some two hundred women prostitutes. They testify as “women and mothers” to demand an end to the police, fiscal and social harassment of which they are victims.
“Kaliarda” by Paola Revenioti (58 minutes), 2015
“Kaliarda” traces the history of a secret slang language invented by Greek sex workers. Used as a means of protection, this language was reappropriated by trans women and queers during the years of extreme repression.
Wednesday, February 9, 7pm at the Dispersion Bookstore
“Ponte en mis tacones”, by Diabla. Text in Spanish and French, in collaboration with the association Aspasie and Eva-Luna Perez
Thursday, January 13 in Forde
“Rose2Rage”, by Theophylle Dcx
Wednesday, February 23, 8pm at Spoutnik
“Quand la ville bande” by Lazare Lazarus
Forde is open Fridays and Saturdays from 4pm to 7pm and by appointment (firstname.lastname@example.org).