What Lies Beneath
On the subject of PLACE, the Vancouver-centric Flash Collective promises a uniquely prescient opportunity: collaboration between the QAF and Finkelstein has been irrevocably altered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the marginalized artists the workshop aimed to serve are now grappling with the complexity of a post-pandemic future in real time.
In July 2020, the Queer Arts Festival (QAF) will support a visual art exhibition curated by artist, activist, and community organizer Jonny Sopotiuk on the festival theme of Wicked. Sopotiuk’s curation includes a single-day workshop for a group of emerging and early career local artists with New York-based artist and seminal HIV/AIDS activist Avram Finkelstein, known as a Flash Collective. Originating in his HIV/AIDS activism of the 1980s, Finkelstein’s Flash Collective is an experiment in political art-making wherein he leads a group of artists to answer the call to collective action. The artists form a collective of limited duration intent on producing a single intervention in a public space; a result-oriented exercise aimed at collective action by focusing on collective decision-making within a surgical and fast-paced format intended to cut directly to the point of the work-its content.
Prior to the festival on June 16 2020, Finkelstein guided a group of 9 2SLGBTQ+ identified local artists through a pre-prescribed 6-hour Flash Collective workshop. As a short-term collective, participants will imagine alternative models on activating social spaces through reflection on the history of queer activism—a dynamically charged subject given the impact marginalized communities are experiencing under the pallor of the COVID-19 pandemic and the era of social distancing. The product of the workshop is negotiated by the collective with artist selection based on their unique contributions, including interest in or experience with activism, graphic design, photography, and animation. In his role as convenor, Finkelstein will bring together the first ever online flash collective where artists will explore community and collaboration during a pandemic by producing a single intervention in public space.