Online discussion in the framework of Sofia Queer Forum 2021: Queer Roma. We’ve Got the Power.
Art as a Political Stand: Roma Artists' Platforms of Expression
Nov 5th, 18h EET
On zoom https://syracuseuniversity.zoom.us/j/94543807842
and on the facebook page of the forum https://www.facebook.com/sofiaqueerforum
Participants: Robert Gabris, Donka Kyoseva, Selma Selman and Peter Lee.
Moderator: Boryana Rossa
The discussion will be translated to and from Bulgarian and English.
“Art as a Political Stand: Roma Artists' Platforms of Expression” continues the exploration of intersectional identities through art, that has been part of Sofia Queer Forum since 2012. This year the focus is specifically on the intersection of queer Roma reviewing its interrelations with class inequality, and social ostracism. This forum has been composed around the manifesto “We’ve Got the Power” of artists Selma Selman and Peter Lee. The text presents a futurist perspective on solidarity among diversities with the realization that none of us has a singular identity – we are all many things simultaneously, we are all chimeras.
Drawing inspiration from the quantum theory and the notion of quantum superposition, the manifesto proposes us “to imagine and construct a performative discourse from the point of view of a “Superpositional Guard”. The “Superpositional Guard” draws from the idea of an “avant garde” from the cultural processes of both the military and art, while fusing it with the empirical grounding of quantum computing to pose a new possible solidarity which refuses the reproduction of oppressed logics by the oppressed.”
This event brings together artists with a range of artistic experience working in performance art, text, installation and video and sharing intersectional identities.
Panelists include Robert Gabris, Donka Kyoseva, Selma Selman and Peter Lee who will each share their own work, their engagement with activism and their views on artistic collectivity as a platform for larger social change. We hope that this international meeting will be a starting point of looking at Roma issues in Bulgarian society through a perspective for the future, affecting the ways we interact with each other.
Robert Gabris is a visual artist living and working in Vienna He was born in Hnusta, Slovakia, studied stage and costume design at the Academy of Performing Arts, Bratislava and graduated from the MA program at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna in 2014.
Since 2013, Gabris has been exhibiting and working in residencies across the globe.
Gabris’ works often challenge the discrimination, social injustice and negative prejudices that Roma people, ethnic or sexual minorities and immigrants have to face.
Donka Kyoseva is an actress who graduated from the University of Plovdiv with a degree in Acting for Drama Theater. She is part of "Fire step" an art formation for fiery and theatrical art. In 2016 she reached the semifinals of the TV show "Bulgaria‘s Got Talent". She has received a number of awards, and performed not only in her hometown of Svilengrad, but also at theaters in Sofia and Plovdiv.
Selma Selman lives and works in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and New York, USA.
and is of Romani origin. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2014 from Banja Luka University’s Department of Painting In 2018 she graduated from Syracuse University with a Master of Fine Arts in Transmedia, Visual and Performing Arts.
In her artworks, the ultimate aim is to protect and enable female bodies and enact a cross-scalar approach to the collective self-emancipation of oppressed women.
Selman is also the founder of the organization ”Get The Heck To School” which aims to empower Roma girls all around the world who faced ostracization from society and poverty.
For the last several years, she has been working in collaboration with Chongha Peter Lee, who is currently based in New York and Washington, D.C. Most recently, he has been building on the idea of “Virtual Materialism” synthesizing new physical facts from the Web 4 quantum internet, critical philosophy on the Neganthropocene, and proxypunk culture. He was an integral member of the Planetary Research Assemblage, co-producing “The Impossible Dialogues Interface” for the Chile Architectural Biennale in 2017.
 Quantum superposition is a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. It states that, much like waves in classical physics, any two (or more) quantum states can be added together ("superposed") and the result will be another valid quantum state; and conversely, that every quantum state can be represented as a sum of two or more other distinct states.