This article is part of Hyperallergic’s Pride Month series, featuring an interview with a different transgender or nonbinary emerging or mid-career artist every weekday throughout the month of June.
Fadescha is a nonbinary artist and curator living and working between Berlin and New Delhi. Their multi-media practice centers performance, photography, and film. For the fourth installment in our June interview series, Fadescha spoke to Hyperallergic about their recent video works, cultivating “radically exclusive” spaces, and their New Delhi-based art and social space Party Office, which traveled to Documenta 15 this year.
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Hyperallergic: What is the current focus of your artistic practice?
Fadescha: My current focus is on my personal experience with neurodivergence, cPTSD [complex post-traumatic stress disorder], chronic pain and fatigue, and finding meaningful sociocultural orientations that are not alienating. My three-channel video “Burn All The Books That Call You The Unknown” (2020) highlights body movements as an archive of multi-generational trauma, and suggests that it is in first-person sharing and visibility of plural experiences through a shared language (sound) that we can challenge white supremacist archives. My work not only critiques the hetero-patriarchal social makeup, but also proposes intimate spaces where those who align can have fun together. I posit our body as the site to center one’s pleasure: It is in this act that we take back our power, as Black, Blak, Brown, Indigenous, refugees, disabled, neurodivergent people; as women, trans, and gender-variant people. My video “Nesting in Rapid Floods: Qworkaholics Anonymous II” (2022) foregrounds collectively generated choreography celebrating safer moments (“doing nothing”) with friends, who also perform the incessant labour for queer survival outside of the intentional stage for intimacy set for the video. Along with my artistic practice, I host Party Office, an anti-caste, antiracist, trans-feminist art, and social space. In 2022, we released five publications and hosted a dungeon with QTBIPOC exclusive pro-BDSM club nights at documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany.
H: In what ways — if at all — does your gender identity play a role in your experience as an artist?
I have always been a nonconformist when it comes to my gender. I think queer dysphoria not only comes from gender or sexuality, but also marks itself through other social structures you are a part of. In my experience, caste, race, class, and neurodivergence also played an important role in my not feeling like I belonged where I was and with whom I was around. This hasn’t changed: Transforming and then coming out is a continuous process.
I think my personal experience of loneliness and constantly seeking a place of belonging very much drives my practice. My video series Qworkaholics Anonymous (2021–present) reimagines the format of de-addiction programs to create space for “doing nothing,” asserting that radical figures (queer, trans, and BIPOC people) do important work in their very acts of survival. With gender, I am not only interested in a person, but also in institutions and challenging their gendered organizational ethics and practice.
H: Which artists inspire your work today? What are your other sources of inspiration?
F: I am very fond of radically exclusive gatherings and spaces that are QTBIPOC owned and/or run. I think nightlife has enabled many queer, trans, Black, and neurodivergent artists to be visible, to work, to earn, and to hang out. I also appreciate the practice and work of many feminists who are finding and sharing methods of collective healing. I am always inspired by my friends and the people I invite to work with me. My collaborator (and fellow Aries) curator-writer Shaunak Mahbubani has been immensely supportive and their ways of working have challenged and inspired me. Black Quantum Futurism, rungrupa, Estelle Ellison, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Wakaliwood, Theaster Gates, House of Slé, Jyotsna Siddharth, Tania Bruguera, and Another Roadmap Africa Cluster are among those whose work I have high regard for.
H: What are your hopes for the LGBTQIA+ community at the current moment?
F: I hope to collectively arrive at a party where we have no self-doubt, no shame; a space for curiosity and compatible values toward mutual pleasure.