Simona Dumitriu and Ramona Dima: Artists in Residence, August 2015
“We have begun working collaboratively from February 2014 because we share a common interest in poetry as political tool and we wanted to research, assemble and perform a collection of queer and feminist ideas and affects as expressed in 20th and late 19th Century poetry. We have developed this collection into Word Body, an 8 hours intensive reading performance in public space, in English, which we have presented this year as part of 2 important queer festivals (Punkurica in Budapest and KVIR Feminist Actziya in Vienna). We are also translating the poems for a shorter 2 hours public reading in Bucharest, and have started to write other performative texts (fill in the blanks exercises) and image books.
The Drag King project that we are working on is at the intersection between poetry and activism, and while we see Claude (and his partner Dersch) as more of an activist manifesto, we are interested in the textual development of their personas as well.
As Simona and Ramona (or as our drag personas Claude and Dersch) our duo work started and evolved from our life partnership and from our joint experiences as queer/LGBTQAI activists, and as out and visible queer identities living in the Romanian oppressive, homophobe, heteronormative context.
Our cultural background intersects queer and gender theory, Simona working on related topics from within the contemporary art field and Ramona mixing literary studies with an extensive experience of working/volunteering in feminist groups and anti‐discrimination associations.
We have had experiences of using drag king actions in activist situations, and we aim (during our stay at MuseumsQuartier Vienna) to develop our drag personas, Claude and Dersch, more towards the intersection between language‐based performances, camp and cabaret theatricality, and studies of body posture within a critique of gender normativity.
We are also currently researching on connected issues, such as Romanian queer culture (Ramona) and local lesbian lost herstories from before 1989 (Simona).
In parallel with Claude&Dersch, Simona is mixing teaching, artistic and collective curatorship as part of the curatorial group at Platforma space in Bucharest (artist-run project space started in 2011 within MNAC Annex, www.platformaspace.wordpress.com) and Ramona studies Romanian queer identities in media and literature for her PhD at the University of Bucharest.
The local focus of our general work and research on these topics is both a limit that we understand and a vital need, because it is within known and lived homophobia that we need to build up our voices, through actions that are lived politics, embodied daily.”
Simona and Ramona (aka Claude and Dersch)