21st Century Ecogender

by Ángeles Sanmiguel

(El articulo original Ecogénero Siglo XXI salió en el periodico El Levante 24/7/2019)

“Take the Earth as a lover” is Graham Bell Tornado´s exhortation in Las Naves. His transversal work describes ecology as “super sexy”, something which concerns all humanity without exception. But what about the tuna vessels that devastate species and the seabed through traditional and electric trawling, failing to respect quotas? What about the intentionally started fires and the undisclosed criminal liabilities? Are the victims of ecocides, species and specimens of animals and plants, quantified?

Caress the rocks, kiss the earth, hug the trees. In “Natural Hysteria”, a project by Bell Tornado, a cum laude PhD in Production and Artistic Research, people were summoned to join their voices in response to ecological murder. Anna Maria Staiano (Glamereuse) commented on this action: “We went to the mountain of Xátiva. We had the support of the council of Xátiva”, where, at that time, Alfonso Rus Terol was in power (from 2007 to 2015 he combined his role as mayor of the Setabense town council with his presidency of the Valencian Provincial Government, Translator´s note: Rus is now under house arrest on corruption charges).

Is it possible to bring up subjects which are incompatible for political health?

Environment and gender closely related to other species, merged in order to reclaim spaces; “We carried out the second cycle of Ecogender in the universities”, in the year 2012, and then Open Wounds: the Queer Ecology Encounters. Queer Ecology is a concept which has been developed by the scientist from Bogotá (Colombia), Brigite Baptiste, specialised in biodiversity, a former director of the Humboldt Institute and winner of the Prince Claus of Holland Award for Culture and Development 2017.

The tenth anniversary of La Errería (House of Bent) the house-museum, queer gallery, founded by Bell and Staiano had its place of honour in Museari Queer Art 2019, (an initiative which forms part of the Mostra La Ploma). Performances, interviews and exhibitions of activist and progressive visual arts are pure energy when carried out by multidisciplinary artists.

Diversity as the foundation of evolutionary equilibrium, a standard bearer of freedom. Antidote to Nothing; “People have begun to lose their hopes, and forget their dreams. So the Nothing grows stronger… because people who have no hopes are easy to control. And whoever has control has the Power.,” discuss Atreyu and G’mork in The Never Ending Story. Ricard Huerta Ramón, doctor of Fine Arts, writer and director of Museari presented the Museari Queer Art awards and the curator of the exhibition Germán Navarro, professor of Medieval History, presented commemorative diplomas.

Bell Tornado, Scottish by birth, for “La Errería Xposé”, chose a classic seventies outfit,, with a narrow black skirt, two-tone print blouse, heels and long earrings. Artist and activist at the time of Thatcher;

“Mrs. Thatcher attacks Judge Garzón and Spain:” What they are planning is a show trial, with a previously decided sentence: that Senator Pinochet will die in a foreign land. I’m going to tell you how Pinochet helped us during the Falklands War: Chilean radars warned London of the Argentine aviation´s attacks “(Garzón. El hombre que veía amanecer“, Pilar Urbano).

Bell longed to move transgender activism into other fields and that is how a multitude of actions arose as well as their recently published book Ecogénero X / Ecogender X produced in union with Transnational Temps, Rafael Tormo i Cuenca, Verónica Perales, William James and the pornoterrorist Diana Junyent Torres.

“A vision of nature as something queer“. In Spain there is nothing on this subject, says Eugenia Rojo, a doctor in Art History, invited to the X-centric conference programmed by Bell. “Nature and human beings are the same thing, nature is queer.” Rojo at the beginning of her studies realised that the History of Art focussed on the past, “A very rigid culture. Art as a political element”, and also that art and science, inexplicably, “have always been separated” in a system where environmental quality, was apparently obvious, so “Nobody talks about it.” Art, science and nature. Underwater diver and photographer, Eduardo Admetlla writes about atolls in ¡Fondo! Mares Tropicales: “Wise Nature, creator of beauty, has managed to make a wonderful island emerge, on a lonely offshore coral reef offshore, our island!”.

“The thesis of the Anthropocene (” metaphor of global environmental change “), centres the origin of the crisis not on the human being, but on capitalism,” reads Bell from the book being presented.

On exhibition, jewellery and body pieces by Anna Maria Staiano, photographed by Toni Cordero: “Shoot” worn by Mad Vicious and “Second Skin”, worn by Jennifer Picken, change the perception of the world “creating new queer anatomies where erogenous zones move and multiply and gender rules are overthrown. ”

Bell with a red and black waistcoat and the acronym CCCP (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) stitched in gold, interviews Rampova who, without mincing words, and with extremely expressive hands, similar to those of the New Zealand musician and actor Richard O’Brien, narrated very descriptive experiences of hypocrisy “What a sad time is ours! It is easier to disintegrate an atom than a prejudice. ” A whispered talk entitled “The World of Rampova Cabaret” in which Rampova, photo in hand, read what was written years ago on the back: “If you want to Americanize me, I will make myself a queen1.”

“The US plans to ask Spain to pay for its military presence in Rota and Morón” (infodefensa.com, 03/11/2019)

An ecoqueer video and ritual dedicated to the luz de las divinas (light of the divine- female- ones) . A recorded tribute to the Sevillian artist and LGTBQ + activist Ocaña (José Pérez Ocaña), in which Bell sings to him in a flamenco style. “The “cante jondo” (deep and most soulful flamenco style) approaches the trill of the bird and the natural music of the poplar and the wave”, (Federico García Lorca: Prosa. The cante jondo).
“Ritual to heal the world bank”. Maria Fraile an expert from SETEM (Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Development), during Fair Trade Day, declared that “The institutions themselves are also financed with armed banking”. Gregori Sabater of ENCLAU (Network for Alternative Financing) said: “We are fighting against dinosaurs, giants.”

Millionaire interests promote ecocides, will they be stopped, prosecuted, punished some day? When? – Now!Already! Ya! The young people shout every Friday.

The ritual continues and several people stand next to two candles placed on a female star inserted in the circle, drawn with flour on the ground, to immediately name paradigms: panthera tigris, Annie Sprinkle “The goddess of ecosex”, the cry of the animals in a slaughterhouse and Dani ayoung indigenous, lesbian activist in the Amazon rainforest.

Prizes and speeches in Museari Queer Art closed the event that celebrated its five years: Rosa Sanchis, teacher; Nazario Luque, pace setting artist of the Barcelona underground in the seventies: “To reward what each one of us has done for the normalization of homosexuality”; Mili Hernández from the publisher Egales: “We were editors by necessity”, the lesbians asked us for “Novels that end well and not in suicides”, Tatiana Sentamans: “Don´t stop culture and the struggle”; Juan Vicente Aliaga, from his teaching experience in Fine Arts proclaimed: “We cannot go backwards, there is a very strong threat”; Ventura Pons, Barcelona film director, author of the documentary Ocaña: “Movies determine things.”

The Rocky Horror Picture Show directed by the Australian Jim Sharman, is a generational fetish, a film where the characters Magenta and her brother Riff Raff, say goodbye commenting: “Sweet transexual. Land of the night. To sing and dance your dark refrain, to take that step to the right. But it is the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane.”

1A play on words between americanizar y amariconizar- maricon is Spanish for queer/queen.

La hospitalidad como disidencia:

Unas palabras acerca de la significación de La Errería (House of Bent)

headrer(en ingles debajo)

por Juan Vicente Aliaga

En 2003 llega al País Valenciano una pareja asaz singular. En este dúo formado por Graham Bell y Anna Maria Staiano, que vio la luz en Londres, se entremezclan formas de hacer y bagajes culturales distintos y polimorfos – el sur italiano y el norte escocés-. Desde una gran capital, ya inmersa en las políticas neoliberales que convierten el cuerpo, e incluso la diversidad sexual, en pura mercancía, aterrizan en un territorio controlado políticamente por la corrupta derecha valenciana. En esta geografía diezmada por la codicia, el clientelismo y el nepotismo deciden abrir en 2009 un espacio llamada La Errería (House of Bent) situado en la villa de Xàtiva. Su propia casa, siempre hospitalaria y abierta, se convirtió de ese modo en un lugar desde el que fluían las prácticas feministas y las rebeldías transmarikabollo a las que se añadían las disonancias bisexuales. Pronto sintonizaron sus inquietudes con las de aquellos inconformes sexuales y de toda laya que en Valencia y otros lugares habían resistido a la podredumbre de más de dos décadas del conservadurismo gobernante.

Con mucho esfuerzo, y siempre contando con la colaboración de muchas otras personas, en La Erreria (House of Bent) se ha logrado a lo largo del tiempo llevar a cabo un conjunto de exposiciones y de actividades totalmente independientes de los circuitos comerciales. Entre ellas quisiera destacar la muestra dedicada en 2009 a Rampova Cabaret, una figura esencial en los universos disidentes valencianos que padeció en carne propia la persecución franquista y cuya obra artística es un portento de imaginación y audacia. Rampova, un autor polifacético que desborda los límites de las disciplinas para rezumar una fina inteligencia trans.

También descuella el proyecto Ecogénero iniciado en 2010. En él se asentaron las bases de una de las líneas de trabajo más fructíferas en las que confluye una crítica al estricto binarismo de género y una defensa de la diversidad medioambiental y de la necesidad de su preservación. De entre todas las vertientes de la creatividad que se han podido ver en La Errería (House of Bent) y en la propia trayectoria individual de Anna Maria y Graham se me antoja que el sello distintivo viene dado por la necesaria insistencia en establecer paralelismos conceptuales y visuales entre la diversidad sexual y de género y la biodiversidad.

Vivimos en un mundo -la época geológica del Antropoceno- amenazado por la contaminación y el calentamiento climático, consecuencia de la depredación de la naturaleza que ha impulsado el capitalismo devorador. Muchas especies animales y plantas ya han desaparecido. Vivimos asimismo en tiempos en que, pese a los avances sociales logrados por los feminismos y los movimientos LGBTQI+, el ascenso del matonismo y de la violencia fascistoide suponen un peligro para las libertades individuales y colectivas. Aunar ambas líneas de trabajo, a saber, la inconformidad cuir y el respeto al planeta, denota una clarividencia infrecuente en tiempos de avidez mercantilista y de discursos vacíos de contenido.

Hospitality as dissent
A few words about the significance of La Errería (House of Bent)

Juan Vicente Aliaga

In 2003 a very singular couple arrived in the Valencian region. In this duo, which saw the light in London, formed by Graham Bell and Anna Maria Staiano, different, polymorphic practises and cultural backgrounds are interwoven – the Italian south and the Scottish north. F
rom a big capital city, already immersed in the neoliberal policies which have converted the body, and even sexual diversity, into pure merchandise, they landed in a territory controlled by a politically corrupt Valencian right wing party. In 2009, in this terrain decimated by greed, cronyism and nepotism, they decided to open a space called La Errería (House of Bent), located in the town of Xàtiva. Their own house, always hospitable and open, thus became a place from which flowed feminist practices and transmarikabollo1 rebellions with added bisexual dissonances. They soon attuned their concerns with sexual dissenters and all others who in Valencia and elsewhere had resisted the rot of over two decades of ruling conservatism.

With a great deal of effort, and habitually relying on the collaboration of many others, over time La Erreria (House of Bent) has managed to carry out a combination of exhibitions and activities totally independent of commercial circuits.

Amongst their activities I would like to highlight the exhibition dedicated in 2009 to Rampova Cabaret, an essential figure in Valencian dissident universes who suffered Franco’s persecution in the flesh and whose art work is a portent of imagination and audacity. Rampova is a versatile artist who goes beyond the limits of disciplines to exude a fine trans intelligence.
The Ecogender project, initiated in 2010, also stands out. It laid the foundations for one of their most fruitful lines of work in which a critique of strict gender binarism and a defense of environmental diversity and the need for its preservation converge. Amongst all the aspects of creativity that have been seen in La Errería (House of Bent) and in the individual trajectory of Anna Maria and Graham, it seems to me that the most distinctive hallmark resides in their necessary insistence on establishing conceptual and visual parallels between sexual and gender diversity and biodiversity.

We live in a world – the geological age of the Anthropocene – threatened by pollution and global warming, a consequence of the depredation of nature driven by an all-consuming capitalism. Many animal species and plants have already disappeared. Moreover we live in a time when, despite the social advances achieved by feminisms and LGBTQI + movements, the rise of thuggery and fascist violence pose a danger to individual and collective freedoms. Combining both lines of work, namely, cuir (queer) non-conformity and respect for the planet, shows a perspicacity uncommon in times of commercialist greed and meaningless discourses.

1Lit: transfagdyke. The radical political Spanish term for “queer”.



La Erreria´s herstory

Aqui hay un resumen de la histeria de La Erreria:
(Castellano debajo)

Our name is bilingual like us. La Erreria (def.): the Factory of Errors, Errancy and Rs.

We are Anna Maria Staiano and Graham Bell Tornado an artist duo based in Spain dedicated to queer and ex-centric art. Our eclectic and experimental practise includes collaborative processes, performance, film & video-art, music, body sculpture and literature. Our main interests are (trans)gender, ecology and feminism, a love of nature that is totally unnatural and an aesthetic that combines punk, baroque and retro-modernism.

In 2009, inspired by the concept of the Museum-House, we opened up the basement of our house as the Erreria (House of Bent), an art-space hosting exhibitions, performances, concerts and guided tours of the gallery as well as our domestic space. Exhibitions held included: The World of Rampova Kabaret, IntroVersion by Almudena López and the group show Eco-Gender.

Nevertheless, the main focus of the Erreria´s activities is in the expanded field of the live arts. Our performances mix a camp sense of humour with biting social commentary. Ongoing participatory ceremonies such as The Coronation, How to Heal, P.I.N.Q. Park, are generally led by Graham´s alter ego, the transgender shaman Geyserbird, who invites participants to create queer rituals with a contemporary relevance which celebrate diversity in all its forms- biological, sexual and cultural.

Anna Maria designs sensory pieces based on gender, masquerade, transformation and play, which aim to alter symbolic imagery and sensory experience through interaction and are often employed in their performances and films.

We also organize and participate in events, debates and university conferences on eco-trans-feminism and art, and carry out academic presentations and workshops on performance, ritual, and radical drag from a queer and feminist perspective.

Finally, the Erreria is also a sui generis publishing house and has published limited edition handmade catalogues of their exhibitions, artist publications and fanzines. Anna Maria´s trans-disciplinary practice is the focus of the photo-novella Transexpace and the book Impure, a collaboration with a host of queer/trans/feminist artists, performers, photographers, writers, curators and activists.

Erreria Photo

(Castellano aquí)

Somos Anna Maria Staiano y Graham Bell Tornado una pareja artística basada en España dedicadas a realizar y difundir el arte queer y ex-centrico. Nuestra práctica ecléctica y experimental incluye procesos colaborativos, performance, cine y video-arte, música, escultura corporal y literatura. Nuestros intereses principales son el (trans) género, la ecología y el feminismo, un amor a la naturaleza totalmente antinatural y una estética que combina punk, barroco y retro-modernismo.

En 2009, inspiradas en el concepto de la Casa-Museo, abrimos nuestra casa de pueblo en Xàtiva, como La Erreria (House of Bent) un espacio de arte donde realizamos exposiciones, performances, conciertos y visitas guiadas de la galería y nuestro espacio doméstico. Entre las exposiciones se incluyen: El Mundo de Rampova Kabaret, IntroVersión de Almudena López y la colectiva Eco_Gender / Eco_Género.

Sin embargo, el foco principal de las actividades de La Erreria está en el campo expandido de las artes vivas. Nuestras actuaciones mezclan un sentido del humor camp con un acido comentario social. Nuestras ceremonias participativas como La Coronación, Cómo Sanar…, P.I.N.Q. Park, son generalmente dirigidas por el alter ego de Graham, el chamán transgénero Geyserbird, que invita a lxs participantes a crear rituales queer con una relevancia contemporánea que celebran la diversidad en todas sus formas, biológica, sexual y cultural.

Anna Maria diseña piezas sensoriales basadas en el género, la mascarada, la transformación y el juego, que tienen como objetivo alterar las imágenes simbólicas y la experiencia sensorial a través de la interacción, a menudo se emplean en sus actuaciones y películas.

También organizamos y participamos en eventos, debates y conferencias universitarias sobre el eco-trans-feminismo y el arte, y realizamos presentaciones académicas y talleres sobre performance, ritual y drag radical desde una perspectiva queer y feminista.

Por último, La Erreria es también una editorial sui generis y ha publicado catálogos hechos a mano en edición limitada de sus exposiciones, publicaciones de artistas y fanzines. La práctica transdisciplinaria de Anna Maria es el foco de la foto novela Transexpace y del libro Impure , una colaboración con una multitud de artistas queer / trans / feministas, intérpretes, fotógrafxs, escritores, curadores y activistas.