Given the privilege and confronted with the task of devising a theme/focus for this years festival (always the case for Performatorium but not usually the film festival) I was sharing my frustration in a phone call with our wonderfully talented and longtime web/promo designer Russ Portigal, for not having yet conceived of the theme for the upcoming festival in September, which aids us in conceptualizing visuals for said theme. I said, “yeah, there may not be a theme or title to this year’s festival”. He said, “so, no name?” as a surprised response, and perhaps as a way to suggest a way to address or frame my predicament.
no name - something born out of nothing, which is, well, actually something.
As a theme/focus, there is, as it turns out, much to unpack. The varied ways in which no name can be interpreted and how it prompts meaning and application is surprising and confounding considering no name as a brand, is attempting to undermine, disassociate and nullify identification or ‘brand’ in its intended consumer context, with the payoff being reduced cost to the customer. But of course in doing so, it too becomes a ‘brand’, or in the case of Performatorium and QCC Film Festival, a way to frame (and unframe?) the contents beneath the label, in perhaps an open ended and unencumbered way.
no name therefore invites a kind of rethink of identity and identification and consequently the process of naming itself and how that is both necessary and desirable for existing in a modern, safe, orderly and pluralistic world. We are individually acknowledged and given individuality within a collective - whether it be a sparsely populated town, small city, or within a large metropolis. Names and naming are entry points from one on ones, one on three’s, fours and so on - a barrier, gate or window is opened. Understanding, and getting to know someone is part of this process. And then it gets personal.
As Queers, as is the case for all minoritized and marginalized groups, collective identity has been necessary and essential for political gain, presence and pride, but at the end of the day, who we are as individuals is ultimately what defines us.
no name invites audiences the opportunity to watch, hear and listen to the artists at this years Performatorium/QCC Film Festival without a fixed theme, context or label. no name suggests a more fluid and personal approach to considering the creative expressions by artists invested in representation, identity, race, gender and the creative process itself. no name rebukes labels and gives you the goods.
Executive & Artistic Director
Queer City Cinema & Performatorium Festival of Queer Performance