Curated by Shahbaz Khayambashi, Co-Chair Pleasure Dome
In 1964, Susan Sontag published her influential work, Notes on “Camp.” The word camp was placed in parentheses, because camp was still an underdefined term. Of course, this lack of definition is only accurate in the sense that a term that isn’t known in the mainstream, a term that has not yet been commodified, is seen as undefined or underdefined. Sontag brought the term camp to the mainstream, when before it existed in the minds and hearts of queer communities across the world, people who worshipped at the alter of Dorothy of Oz in the church of Andy Warhol. Sontag existed in that world and saw fit to define the term for the outsider and that definition is still seen by some as absolute. However, while some of her points still stand—love of the unnatural, the esoteric and the artificial, an aversion to the ideas of “good taste,” ostentatious aesthetics—there are some points that became outdated within the decade. Chief among these is her ideation of “pure camp,” naïve camp, camp that is unaware that it is camp. To Sontag, camp was only genuine if it was unaware that it was campy. In a world that also contains John Waters, this is simply not true and that lack of truth has only expanded since, with the many children of Sontag inhabiting the world. Camp has bred so many new generations of beauty. In this program, we would like to exhibit some of the newest generation, videos that celebrate exaggerated queer sensibilities, witchy women, new takes on the mainstream and generally a big old fuck you to hegemonic norms. In times like this, we need some beauty and fun in our lives and we would like to provide that with this program, but as you watch, just remember one thing: a spectre is haunting this program—Sontag’s Ghost!
Empyre, Blaze Box (CND, 2019) 11:50 min
Sex Tapes: Lessons from a 7ft Penis & Friends, Tamara Scherbak (CND, 2019) 8:52 min
Rhapsody in Blueberry, Gaelle Denis (France, 2017) 3:50 min
Between Tin Men #1, Amy Ruhl (USA, 2019) 11:00 min
Witch’s Work, Emily Pelstring (CND, 2018) 6:40 min
SuperNova, Rah Eleh (CND, 2019) 14:50 min
Rental from Dec. 2 To Dec. 9, 2020. Thank you for your contribution, consider becoming a member.
JOIN US for a Closing Q&A + community zoom, Wed., Dec. 9 at 7:30 pm EST moderated by Sweet-as-pie and sharp-as-nails, Pearle Harbour is an award-winning drag sensation and Canada’s premiere tragicomedienne.
DOWNLOADABLE PROGRAM ZINE
Editor Shahbaz Khayambashi, Designed by Rupali Morzaria, Secretary Pleasure Dome
Essay: Notes on Camp, Susan Sontag Published in 1964
Special thanks to the artist courtesy for images.