For this new Season of Qlab under a whole new perspective, the staff hosted the Queer CAMPerVAN as the trademark of a different new period for the iconic club.
A van, luggage full of costumes, 4 queers and a golden Foil, is what you see on the surface of The Queer CAMPerVAN tour. If, as you did yesterday, you take your time, you´ll see 4 Brits who bringing the best “Priscilla queen of the Dessert” style a free spot for being queer, for being genderless, basically for being what ever you want to be. Crossing through Europe, this idea which started as a final architecture project for Sam Douek which tried to test the reasons for closing of queer and LGBT spaces became into this journey. In a convulsed Europe, where changes in society make it scary to approach diversity, and the mainstream of capitalism pushes spaces to close down. The camper comes wherever they find a space to perform and make a space for self expression. Because you are the most authentic, when you resemble the most of what you always dreamed of yourself.
So, who are you ?
F: The CAMPerVAN tour consists of Samuel Douek, Fiontán Moran and Zoë Marden. Samuel trained as an architect and is now a film maker. I am a curator and performer sometimes and Zoë is an artist.
How did this whole project begin?
F: The project began because of Samuel, for his architecture masters wanted to respond to the closure of different popular queer venues in London.
S: The project is more an exercise in determining what makes a space queer. It wasn’t much of a solution to a closing epidemic, it was more an understanding how queer spaces operate and how can they be recreated. If it is just the activities that occur in an LGBT space or actual architectural characteristics can make a queer space? So, I am basically a film maker and started doing a lot of research. The first three films I made were quite bad, about famous bars and pubs closing down in London. But they were useful for research to understand why those spots were so successful and why they were so loved and why there were so missed when they were closed down. We are stealing those features and testing if they can be replicated such as stage or lighting or performances. So, we tried to create a private space for community work like HIV testing or film screening. When I was deciding what colour it should be, when a lot of people think of a queer space, they think of pink glittery wool and rainbow flags. But I think that is quite limiting, it doesn’t represent a whole community. So the inside we painted white and outside is painted dark navy, so you wouldn’t identify it as openly gay. But the programming of the events makes it queer, as well as the facilities.
How did you guys properly met?
F: We all met properly when our friend Luke Ferris did an event called “the Alternative Alternative Miss World”, which was a drag pageant where we all competed. Then our friendship was solidified when we all went to Stockholm Pride in 2015.
How long have you been on the road?
S: So we left London on the 1st of September, and we arrived in Brussels at 6 am on the Saturday. We have been on the road for over 10 days and we have 3 days left, we are still going to Pairs next. It has been exhausting, and exhilarating, and wonderful and stressful and everything.
What is your vision on Gender with this project?
F: We are a queer space and by queer we mean accepting of difference, straight, gay, asexual, bisexual, trans, cis.
Is about creating a space where people can perform and hold discussions about LGBTQ issues.
S: I am very much in line with the idea that gender is a complete concept, and spaces like this should give a platform for challenging that thought performances and discussion, and I would like to think we really do that, specially with drag. Because we have many that follow the tradition of female impersonation, but a lot of the acts we have are very redefining of gender identity and gender stereotype, of this grey area where gender can be what ever you want it to be.You don’t have to live in a box of queerness, you can just live how ever you want to and you don’t need to identify as anything.