Colloquium: Friday, April 1, 2022, at 3pm, 622 Dodge Hall
Konrad Sierzputowski (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)
"Filth, Glitter, and Blood: Transformations of Polish Queer Opera and Musical Theater after 1989"
Abstract: Structural homophobia, as an oppressive tool of social authority, is often used to erase LGBTQIA+ representatives from national history to keep political control over the population. By reducing society to a model in which heteronormativity is the exclusive point of reference, homophobia disrupts the continuity of cultural inheritance between sexual and gender minorities and keeps the queer community dispersed, thus politically invisible. By focusing on the European Union's most homophobic country—Poland—I will present transformations of vernacular forms of queer aesthetics within Polish opera and musical theatre. By exploring the consequences of the socio-economic transformation of queerness from communism to capitalism, I will be able to answer the following question: How can “queer aesthetics” create alternative forms of epistemic resistance towards reductive politics of memory and towards the symbolic violence standing behind it? In order to do so, I will focus on three Polish directors: Krzysztof Warlikowski, Cezary Tomaszewski, and Krystian Lada, who present different vernacular models of peripheral queer audiovisual sensibility. They demonstrate that profound change within heterosexist culture requires a constant work of deconstructing hegemonic models of historiography and simultaneously (re)constructing the queer past.
Bio: Konrad Sierzputowski received his PhD in Cultural Studies from the Jagiellonian University where he studied the evolution of queer music under the transfigurations of neoliberalism in Poland and the United States. His research oscillates around the history of LGBTQ+ music, the biopolitics of sound structures, and the politics/aesthetics of queer sonic resistance. In 2018, he published his first book Słuchając hologramu. Cielesność wirtualnych zespołów animowanych [Listening to the Holograms: Corporeality of Virtual Animated Bands] where he researched semiotics and somathoaesthetics of "non-human" music performances. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Junior Research Scholarship at Columbia University Music Department (2020/21) and the "START" Scholarship of the Foundation for Polish Science (2021).