Queerhana in the context of autonomous movements in Israel/Palestine from 2001-2009
27 May – 2 July 2017
Exhibition, Events, Book, Documentary film
With Activestills, León Allez, Yossi Bartal, Shiri Blumenthal, Tony Buzzerio, Shay Ben Efraim, Mylen Eliot Garreau, Orr Guilat, Seemab Gull, Raafat Hattab, Rapha Hu, Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Zvonimir Kontrec, Rachel Laurie, Claudia Levin, Lila Lilith, Yossef(a) Mekyton, Nate + Maizta, Jana Nowack, Nathi Oh, Samira Saraya, Malvina R. Schorlé, Tamara Schreiber, Adi Shpigel, Yosi Speedy, Michael (Mysh) Rozanov, The Phantomat, Bosque Utopico, Aviv Victor, Gala Weizman, Boaz Y, Oren Ziv and more
In 2002, several queers set up a camp under a highway bridge in Tel Aviv, just a few hundred meters from the huge Gay Parade taking place at the same time. They were equipped with a sound system, DIY art, glitter, and a banner reading “Mi she mekabel jehol lehitkabel“ (Hebrew: He who accepts will be accepted). The party under the bridge grew rapidly and marked the beginning of a queer movement that until 2009 organised parties at different places in Jaffa/Tel Aviv: Queerhana.
The name derives from a wordplay combining “Karachana” (Hebrew: “wild party”, Arabic: “brothel”) and “queer”.
Inspired by Hakim Bey’s concept of a “Temporary Autonomous Zone” (1991), Queerhana created free spaces in a society shaped by war and racism that were at once safe spaces and sites of political activity, where deviation from social norms, gender ambiguity, and opposition against the Israeli occupation policy could be expressed in a self-confident and creative way. The movement offered Jewish and Palestinian queers a political and social home, something which they were not able to find in Israel’s mainstream gay scene.
The exhibition THIS IS A FREE ZONE documents the origin and development of Queerhana in the context of other autonomous movements in Israel/Palestine from 2001 to 2009. 15 years later, the project takes a look back and raises questions regarding the connection of party and politics: (How) can one dance during war? What is necessary for creating a common space for Palestinian and Jewish-Israeli queers? Can a “safe space” be created without repeating the same excluding power relations and dichotomies that the zone actually seeks to overcome?
Based on these questions, the project searches for inspiration for the present.
Accompanying the exhibition the book “QUEERHANA. UTOPIA NOW!” (ISBN 978-3-938515-66-2) with documentation materials and essays and the documentary film “Nation Monsters and Superqueers” with testimonies of queer activists from Israel/Palestine will be released.
Project group: Orr Guilat, Liad Hussein Kantorowicz, Zvonimir Kontrec, Mascha Nehls, Malvina R. Schorlé, Yosi Speedy, Bosque Utopico