.Short story no. 208
.Short story no. 207 (aug
.Happening (jun 2007)
for publication 'Belief'
(link to Kirsten Leenaars to order a free copy)
Extra in Dutch:
bij inzending van werk voor Hermine van Bersprijs (jul '07)
to miscommunication and my own precarious financial situation, I needed
to go back on my promise to go to Sarajevo and install my work on the
request of curator Ibro Hasanovic and Boris Majstorovic, queer art and
culture coordinator of LOGOS. Sorry guys.Story
below has not been exhibited.
Short story no. 208, November 25, 2020
Leave it, I told them today, don’t buy me a ticket.
I am sitting behind my computer and thinking how I’m supposed to
travel to Sarajevo on the 8th of December to install my work in a series
of exhibitions of queer art. The storm clatters on the two small
windows of my attic room, here in Leiden. It’s dark and rainy. When
I look outside I see the church I have grown so accustomed to in the last
five years of painting and drawing it. When lit from the street in the
night, it transforms into a lighthouse for the aeroplanes flying above
this small town before landing at the airport. This thought comforts me.
The thought I’m suppose to step into an aeroplane myself in two
weeks, doesn’t comfort me at all. I hate the waiting and hanging
about surrounded by other people waiting and hanging about. I can read
a book, but what if I’m not in the mood to read a book? You might
think that writing comforts me, but it doesn’t. You imagine me sitting
on those dreadful benches and making notes in my diary, but I don’t.
Writing is very disruptive. You might feel happy in your temporarily created
utopia, but how can you ignore the ultimate necessity of leaving it? For
example when the story is finished. Or worse: when you are unable to write
down what you want to.
If you’d see me at the airport today, I’d be reading Wish
I was here by Jackie Kay. For sure. While reading, I would be thinking
of a letter to send to Jackie Kay to say I so very much enjoy her stories
because they are so recognizable and that it seems so easy to write them
and that it almost feels like I would be able to write stories like hers,
but that I know it's quite hard work and that when you don't have the
time, because you are applying for jobs, it usually stays with a couple
of beautiful lines written on a crumpled piece of paper. And I would ask
her if she feels the same pressure to make something beautiful like I
do. And why. I would ask her if she thinks I would still feel a failure
if I wouldn’t be able to write because I'd be too busy
with my new job. I would tell her that I think I only feel a failure now,
because I don't have a job and I'm not writing beautiful stories like
her, Jackie Kay, but only incoherent ones like my letters to one or two
Months ago I reacted to a call for papers for queer art. The
curator liked my art and invited me to do a solo exhibition in Sarajevo.
It was not until recently I discovered the exhibition is organized by
the local LGBT-organisation called LOGOS. But what is queer art about?
Was I invited for my lesbian theme? The feminist appearance of my work?
My analysis of the political and economic structures of the setting of
To tell you the truth, I don’t feel like a queer artist at this
moment at all. Before I questioned the invitation to show my art, I had
already said yes to the paid trip to Sarajevo, which all my friends say
I should visit, because it is such a beautiful city. Why does LOGOS want
to do exhibitions of queer art? Where did they get the money? To whom
will I showing my art? Will my art be provocative? And who will take accountability
So, I said to them: leave it. Save the money for better purposes. I would
suggest giving the money to a queer artist living in Sarajevo. There is
no political or economic benefit of my presence in Sarajevo. If there
was, I’m sure the ticket would have been booked weeks ago. If they
want to do the exhibition anyway, I can send them my story so they can
hang them in the exhibition space. You, the reader, can conclude the organizers
got themselves a proper queer artist. If I had been asking about the interests
of LOGOS from the beginning, I wouldn’t have written this story
Queer art is about creating the possibility to say no to the
dominant hetero-normative economic and political structures of art. Or
yes. But to at least write a story about it that replaces an older one.
Suzanne van Rossenberg ©2007