PRESS and TV



Extract from the interview by Jesus Garcia Civico for El Canibaal literary magazine

Canibaal: How would you define your work for those who do not know it?

GBT: Definitions are complicated- it depends on the day. In English the term "renaissance man " is used about someone who can´t be compartmentalized. I believe that I am more of a "renaissance trans" because my practice is queer and political.
It takes a multitude of forms not only because it reflects my insatiable curiosity, but also because it reflects the insecurity of a transgender existence, we have to be multi-skilled to survive in today's society. So I make music, videos and altered books like the Reciciclopedia, a project that reviews the history of the book in queer and feminist terms.
Then there is the better known part of my work, my performances, or what I call "rituals" in which the symbolic power of transformation plays an important role. Rituals satisfy an atavistic human need and their repetition helps build the identity of a community. I think it is essential for queers, feminists, and ecologists to construct new rituals and ceremonies that reflect our values ??and help build an egalitarian society especially at a time like this, in which it seems fundamentalists have captured the symbolic imagery of our society.

Another aspect of my performances is what I call antitainment because they combine social commitment with popular forms of entertainment such as cabaret, varieté and pop videos, forms which are generally looked down upon in the serious art world for being frivolous. But as the song says: "a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down."

Canibaal: We are interested in the interpretation that can be made of your work in a critical (or biological) viewpoint of political organization. What does this consist of?

GBT: Maybe it's because I studied biophysics and genetics at university in England at a time when student politics was very volatile. Thatcher was not only attacking students rights but also those of workers, homosexuals, everybody. It was there that I began to relate biological organization to social organization. The cellular mechanisms of the body compose a system of interrelated processes in a complex equilibrium, which is the result of the slow process of evolution. On the other hand democracy is the result of a series of struggles throughout history to establish a balance between the people and their rulers. All elements of an ecosystem have to function as a set so that the total of the system is kept in balance. Current neoliberal politics and the practices of the consumer society based on the continuous growth of the economy and the population attack this balance and threaten it in an atrocious way. Often the media trivialize or turn these subjects into a form of entertainment in order to convert their viewers into passive subjects. Today utopian promises might seem obsolete however politicians and religious leaders continue to promote discourses that support the industrial machine, corporations and banks.
I believe that in the field of the arts our struggle lies in the criticism and dissemination of anti-establishment information using tools such as satire, irony and metaphor. I have written and performed several political manifestoes and commercials for non-existent products. For example in various performances and in the video Jackie TV is Selling Retro-Modernisme I played with the double meaning of the word clash in English. I wrote a speech which went something like this: clashes between unions and governments will be abolished and replaced by clashes between beige and cream, clashes between ecologists and corporations will be abolished and replaced by clashes between brown and khaki.
Then I carried out a series of coronations, participatory ceremonies in which I crown everyone, in a action which criticizes the pillars of our society - the army, the church, the state - and also the whole concept of a “nation state”. Queers have no country, we´re a transnational community without frontiers.

Canibaal: As you know, at Canibaal we believe in the autonomy of art, and we were struck by one of your recent actions which at the time passed us by but which seems to sum that idea of ??art up very well- Bejewelled Voluptuary made in collaboration with the fabulous creator of glitter and jewels, Anna Maria Staiano, your partner in La Erreria. What did it consist of?

GBT: Things which shine like beetles, sequins, pearls and jewels have always fascinated me for the quality of light they reflect. Many beetles make their shells from a material that reflects light and gives them an iridescent quality. For many people insects are just bugs or pests and when they can they squash them. They are the scum, the queers of the animal kingdom and fascinate me because their life cycle includes metamorphosis, that is, their bodies change completely. For me they are a metaphor for queer, which shows that nothing is fixed: we can adapt, change and evolve towards a beauty that is not just merely superficial.

Bejeweled Voluptuary is an ongoing project where I explore my kitsch and decadent side in a tribute to the camp and underground film pioneers who have inspired me: Jack Smith, Kenneth Anger and, in this case, James Bidgood director of the film Pink Narcissus. The project began one day when a iridescent beetle flew through the window of our house-museum The Erreria and landed on an artificial orchid, perhaps attracted by its color and form. We decided to try and film it crawling over my naked body covered with jewels. However it was difficult to convince the beetle, which we called Clarissa, to collaborate in the film shoot, so the video remained unfinished and we decided to film more another day in a forest or other natural landscape.

We did another try-out on the nudist beach of Perello. I undressed and lay down on the seashore and Anna Maria began to cover me with jewels as people walked along the beach. An old lady stopped to stare at us for a long time and finally came over and asked what was the purpose of what we were doing.
Anna Maria didn´t know what to answer, because the question made no sense to her. It was a mis / encounter between two planes of existence so different and almost incomprehensible to each other. After several failed attempts at communication the lady asked if it was a medical treatment for circulation or rheumatism. Anna Maria replied that the action did not have a medical purpose and the lady asked in surprise: "Then why do you do it?"

And of course that is a relevant question because what is the use of art? Does it have a practical utility? Anna Maria simply replied "He looks very handsome covered in jewels, don´t you think?"

Canibaal: You also collaborated on the project Impure with Anna Maria, is there any news on that?

GBT: Impure is the latest publication of The Erreria (House of Bent) cultural association that promotes queer and outsider art. Impure is a self-published book and we continue to promote it along with other projects with a mini tour that will take us first to Barcelona where we are super excited to present it at La Canibal bookstore and then in Madame Jasmine with one of our performative fashion shows. Then we go to Bilbao where we´ll present it at Hika Ateneo, then we´ll be showing a selection of our short films at the Zinegoak LGBTQ Film Festival. We´ll also hold the opening ceremony of our seventh Post Industrial Natural Queer (P.I.N.Q.) Park while we´re there.
The Erreria is flaming!

(originally published online at Canibaal )

TV:
My first TV appearance was in 1998 on Border TV in Scotland as part of the documentary series "The Spark" which featured a special on the artists community at Orchardton where I was living. As part of the documentary the makers agreed to help produce and screen my short film us-in-the-futre.
I was then interviewed and featured with stripper and performance artist "Mouse" in the series Digital Sex ( Channel 4, 2000) who filmed our performance of "Tits" ( song by my group Arch) at the ICA. Footage from these documentaries will be uploaded shortly.( they are from the pre digital age!!)

I was featured in a documentary about foreigners living in Spain with a performance as transgender tour guide of the Erreria and Valencia: So successful it was repeated in the "best of" the series and a rival tv station based a report on it, "sending me up". Don´t think they realised the game I was playing! Only available in Spanish
Destino España

A short film which includes excerpts from one of the local tv reports on the exhibition Eco-Gender /EcoGenero. With English subtitles
TV Localia

Report for the programme En Connexió, about my work and La Erreria (House of Bent) on controversial local tv channel Canal Nou, now closed after a central government intervention!
A local news programme, like many spaniards the reporters were amazed at my name (since for them the inventor of the telephone is very famous) and put on the byline "Graham Bell lives!"

PRESS
Article in newspaper "El Levante" about the "Erreria (House of Bent) project which tells the story of how we opened the basement of our house as an outside and queer gallery, expanding into the concept of a house-museum ( based on places like the John Soames museum in London, the Gustave Moreau museum in Paris or the Josep Segrelles museum in Albaida, all museums based in houses ) giving guided tours and organising exhibitions and events in the provincial town of Xativa

Article about the musical group Los Trastornados comprised of guitarist Jesus el "Rata" and cellist Natalia Perez which fused flamenco and punk. My words in Spanish and english combined with their live interpretation was an attempt to capture the viscerality of these musical styles. In the 3 years I studied with flamenco guitarists I learned various hardcore flamenco "palos"(styles).

Article about the action carried out by members of the cast of the theatre show "Comedia sin titulo" an unfinished work of Federico Garcia Lorca. I was invited to work with a flamenco dancer on the final "missing" scene and devised a dialogue between the dancer and my character in the play the Worker" ( who dies, assasinated in the play).

Entrevista en la revista literaria El Canibaal por Jesus Garcia Civico
Canibaal )

TV:
Mi primera aparición en televisión fue en 1998 en Border TV en Escocia como parte de la serie documental "The Spark", que realizaron un capitulo dedicado a la comunidad de artistas en Orchardton, donde yo estaba viviendo. Como parte del documental los creadores acordaron ayudar a producir y proyectar mi cortometraje "us-in-the-future".
Luego fui entrevistado y presentado con el artista de striptease y performance "Mouse" en la serie Digital Sex (Channel 4, 2000) que filmó nuestro desempeño de "Tits" (canción de mi grupo Arch) en el ICA. Las secuencias de estos documentales se cargarán en breve (son de la era pre digital)

Me presentaron en Destino España (TVE2) un documental sobre extranjeros que viven en España con una actuación como guía transgénero de la Erreria y Valencia: Tan exitosa se repitió en el "mejor de" la serie y una emisora de televisión rival basó un informe sobre ella, "enviando Yo arriba ". No creo que se dieron cuenta del juego que estaba jugando!
Destino España

Un cortometraje que incluye excerptos de un reportaje de la telelvision local sobre la exposición de Eco-Género.
TV Localia

Reportaje sobre La Erreria (House of Bent) y mi obra por el programa En Connexió (Canal Nou) Canal Nou, now closed after a central government intervention!
A local news programme, like many spaniards the reporters were amazed at my name (since for them the inventor of the telephone is very famous) and put on the byline "Graham Bell lives!"

PRESS
Artículo en el periódico "El Levante" sobre el proyecto La Erreria (House of Bent), que narra la historia de cómo abrimos el sótano de nuestra casa como una galería de arte outsider y queer en la localidad de Xativa donde organizamos exposiciones y eventos. Expandimos el concepto de la galeriá abriendo los espacios domesticos por visitas guiadas ( basado en casas como el museo John Soames de Londres, el museo Gustave Moreau en París o el museo Josep Segrelles en Albaida, todos casa-museos)

Artículo sobre el grupo musical Los Trastornados que fundió el flamenco y el punk. Me acompañaron en el grupo Jesús el "Rata" (guitarrista) y la violonchelista Natalia Pérez. Mis letras en español e inglés combinadas con su interpretación en vivo fue un intento de captar la visceralidad de estos dos estilos musicales. En los 3 años que estudié música con guitarristas flamencos aprendí varios palos flamencos.

Artículo sobre la acción realizado por el reparto del espectáculo teatral "Comedia sin titulo" obra inacabada de Federico García Lorca. Me invitaron a trabajar con un bailarín de flamenco en este obra para realizar la escena final "desaparecida" e ideé un diálogo entre el bailarín y mi personaje en la obra el trabajador (que muere, asesinado en la obra).