Placing the Safe on Safe-places: on the screening of Save the Place at Entzaubert 2012, part 2

Some ramdom thoughsts. by no particular order.

for a tentatively objecive descritpion on the incident at Entzaubert festival on the evening of the 3.8.2012 see my post here: "Placing safe on safe spaces". Comment moderation is enabled to avoid the usual internet spam, but I will publish everything which is not offtopic.

For those (like me) who think that "art" is anything which is created by human beings with some type of intention beyond a prurely funtional one, and feel unconfortable with the pomp and circunstance associated with the word "art", I will use the word stuff* instead


There is a difference between intention and interpretation. Actually I think what makes stuff* interesting is that it can tell several stories, have different symbols for different people.

There is a difference between intention and interpretation. Of course if you (as an artist) have a significant number of people seeing things in your work you did not want to depict, maybe you want to look again at your work.

There is a difference between depicting violence and promoting violence or appologising violence.

I will continue to commit to the queer safe places as defined originally many years ago: safe places actively free from violence and discrimination, through self reflection and social responsability. I dont believe that stopiing to address or depict violence is a part of this. Other wise we can erase all discussions on racism and discrimination.

It is definetely a good idea to be considerate and avoid retriggering or re-hurting trauma, pain, putting salt on wounds etc. It is a good idea to do this independent of any rules on trigger there might be, only based on the fact that we tendendially want to be considerate, correct, and put other people in a fluffy place and not in hell.

Age ratings,  objective descriptions of films/works and trigger warnings are probably some tools which if correctly used might help achieve the former. I like a couple of them more than others, and e.g. dont really believe in trigger warnings, rather prefering objective descriptions in order for me to choose to see it or not.

If you as artist are submitting a work to a venue, be sure to know what the policiy on triggers are, so that you can help them with a better description or eventually with trigger warnings: so that it doesnt backfire on you or the organizators.

If you are organize an event and you want to have a trigger warning policy, make it explicit so that people can decide if they want to submit their works at all, ad so that people who submit their works might have a chance to provide a good description for the elaboration of descriptions and evtl trigger warnings.
Independent of safe spaces, but specially for safe spaces it is a good idea that discussions that go beyond the personal level in general get moderated, with some usual rules: no personal attacks tolerated, no interrupting, time limit, everybody should have the opportunity to make a point or refute a point (within time limits).

there is a difference between protecting and nurturing victims and disembalancing the discussion by giving a weight, and giving different rules (like, the possibility to shout, interrupt, be aggressive) to a person who takes the role of a victim. 

It is possible to accomodate people with different needs. It is desirable to do this. Safe place or not. It is about how we want to live. We need to think how, and to make it happen. But we cant do this at the cost of aggressive behaviour, because this is sacrificing one ideal to achieve the same ideal.

One of things worring me in this discussion: it is creating an "anti censorship" reaction, where all arguments on being considerate and accomodating different needs are being overruled.

There is a difference between protecting victims or creating a safe space for victims, and making politics with this.

If you are indeed interested in doing somethign about people with trauma before instrumentalising it for politics, start by reading this:

starting a discussion about rape depiction in a spontaneous way where none was planned actually can and will trigger a lot of people who did not prepare for this and were not wishing to be confronted with this.

There are a lot of people with trauma. There are many triggers. It is probably worth mentioning if stuff* has violent content susceptible to re-enact pain and trauma. But you will never be able to cover all triggers. While I dont really believe in triggere warnings (rather believing in warnings about violent content), if you want to have trigger warnings dont assume you know everything about other people´s triggers, and try to formulate in a way that doesnt backfire: to you as organizer, to the stuff* makers and to your audience.

People with trauma need support. That doesnt entitle them, or anyone, to engage in aggressive or unacceptable behaviour.

There are interesting political things to be done on trauma. Trauma therapy is usually difficult to access to people with other discrimination issues: migrants, kinksters, polyamorous, left-political-scene.. either because some of those topics get pathologised, or addressed as "difficult" due to being so specific, leading to a refusal by the therapist. Might also be dependent of what type of health insurance you have.

I would personally would like to see more done about handling with trauma at a personal level- workshops, information events, talking rounds - in the queer scene. Are we aware? do we kow the symtoms of trauma? did we read about it? do we know how to deal with it? do we know the authorities who can help with that?

the politization of trauma is forcing many people to out themselves as traumatized, in order to be able to participate in a discussion where you get a different voice depending if you choose the victim side or not. Forcing or driving somebody or a group to out themselves is not safe nor desirable.

The word "victim" is manyfold, and complex. And to label someone as victim (or ally) doesnt make the argumentation above easier. Actually it makes it very problematic. I am aware of this as I wrote the previous 2 paragraphs. 
There is a difference between getting feedback, no matter how demolishing in its content - for which most stuff* makers are always thankful - and getting personally attacked, interrupted, silenced. 

Asking somebody who is behaving in an unreasonable way to calm now is not silencing a victim. No reasonable respectful discussion can take place while everybody is not back to their senses, victim or not.

An interesting ever-returning topic. Allies. And speaking in the name of others.

Don't discuss with a drunken person. Never, ever. Don´t.



Placing the Safe on Safe-places: on the screening of Save the Place at Entzaubert 2012

This post is commiting to try to be a descriptive and objective text on the incident at Entzaubert festival on the evening of the 3.8.2012. Feel free to comment, correct or complete this description. Comment moderation is enabled to avoid the usual internet spam, but I will publish everything which is not offtopic. I will aboundantly comment and give my opinion in a separate post.

Save the place, or the tragic end of a real-estate agent, was screened as the opening film at the "collective block" from Entzaubert festival   last friday.

Here the link to the film´s synopsis, and the youtube links. The film has a very liberal CC  licence, so feel free to distribute the link aboundantly, and feed the discussion with your contributions, information, insight and gasoline.

http://strangesavagelives.net.tc (official, but still under construction)

During the screening one person erupted to protest that the film depicted sexual violence and that it should not be screened in a queer place. The film was nevertheless quite applauded after the screening(s).

Afterwards, during the Q&A session with me and Lun (one of the other "Save the 'Place" authors) and other filmmakers on the stage, the same person grabed the microfone and repeated the same argumentation, that sexual violence should not be present at Entzaubert festival . Other people had things to say, and tried to get into the discussioon, specially (from the stage perspective) a group in the front row, at the right handed side, but they never had the chance to get their point heard (if you read this, I and others would like to know what you have to say).

I grabed the microfone to say that (1) there was never the intention to depict sexual violence, from any of the persons involved in the film. (2) that if this caused any suffering that it was definetely never our intention (3) that the film is a satire, and not an appology of any type of violence.

The people from the orga at the stage had a hard time bringing the discussion down, stating that during the selection they did not see "Save the Place" as a sexually violent film, rather seen as satire and definetely not as violence appology,  and that art is subjective, interpretations being in the eye of he beholder. It was then proposed to halt the current discussion and to continue it at a latter point, as the current discussion had stalled at the same point over and over, with accusations flying on that there was indeed an intention to represent rape and that our - at some point quite loud and impatient- refusal to further discuss this exact point after the disclaimer above was taken as silencing a victim.

Me and Lun spent the night exhausting ourselves in discussing and answering people´s questions, in separate private discussions. During this, I (and a lot others) noticed that very few people seemed aware that there was *not* a trigger warning policy neither an age rating statement in the program the entzauber festival, but at the same time argumenting as this would be a matter of fact.

The next couple of days the focus of the whole discussion moved in the direction of the (curational) need or not of having trigger warnings in queer festivals, and in the queer community and if Entzaubert festival will want to have a trigger warning in future events.

Tuesday (7.8.2012) there has been a feedback round which shoud deal with these topics where I was not present (N.T. for not being able to deal with what could become yet another very violent discussion). Discussion is anyway going on at several informal channels. I will complete this post with links and texts if/when they are provided.

Post containing comments and musings will follow.

Thanks for reading!