Queer, originally a derogatory term for homosexuals, was reclaimed in the 1990s by gay and lesbian activists in order to distance themselves from gay liberation and its movement toward assimilation. More recently, academics have associated the word with fluid, expansive, heterogeneous, and non-conforming attitudes and behaviors regarding sexuality and gender. Ritual, is mostly associated with set activities performed by organized spiritual and religious groups. A queer ritual is thus a special kind of ritual, one where the ritual is ‘queered’ or re-discovered in an attempt to defy the regulation of sexuality and to rescue and disassociate spirituality from normative tradition in a conscious rejection of heterosexual societal norms.

Queer rituals are individual, collective, private, and public acts of social exchange, affection, kinship, veneration, belonging, and resistance. These actions build communities around sex, play, health, disease, life, death, paganism, magic, and ways of living that challenge repressive notions of morality and respectability.

Featuring rituals as interventions, performances and performative lectures, ritual of queer rituals is both a celebration and critical space to discuss the place that queer rituals play today. At a time when sexual and gender politics have become very visible yet have adopted strategies and discourses of assimilation, queer rituals may offer affirmative spaces of deviance, subversion and indecency that continuously propose alternative relationships as the basis of queer sociability.

With: Ron Athey (artist, London), AA Bronson (artist, Berlin and New York), François Chaignaud (choreographer, Paris), Carlos Motta (artist, New York), Elizabeth A. Povinelli (Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Columbia University, New York), Linn Tonstad (Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Yale Divinity School, New Haven) and Sands Murray-Wassink (artist, Amsterdam).

ritual of queer rituals is convened by artists AA Bronson and Carlos Motta in the context of the exhibition The Temptation of AA Bronson at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam). It is the fourth of a series of performative symposia organized by Motta at Tate Modern, New Museum, (with

Raegan Truax) and the Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice (with Jared Gilbert) to discuss pressing issues of contemporary queer culture.

On the occasion of ritual of queer rituals, Witte de With is pleased to host a launch and signing of Matthias Herrmann’s book The Cum Photos, published by Printed Matter, New York. AA Bronson will be present to sign the book on behalf of Matthias Herrmann from 16:00 to 17:00. The book, including more than 200 full page color photos, will be available for 45 Euros for this day only.

Support for ritual of queer rituals is provided by the city of Rotterdam, Activering en Welzijn

The evening is co-sponsored by The Institute for Art, Religion, and Social Justice, New York City