About delivering commentary on society’s taken-for-granted practices

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The June issue usually gives way to a new 20-something list, featuring models, musicians, actors, illustrators, fashion designers, photographers, artists, architects,... and so much more. The people who are a representation of young society in Belgium, a generation ready to rule our world. In 2020, hence the double number, we’re serving you, hungry hearts, 2 editions of our acclaimed list. That’s right, we’re doubling the number of features, starting a bit earlier. Let us introduce you to the faces you didn't realise you wanted to meet!

Haus Consent, Ghent  

The Haus of Consent expresses itself in ways that are not bound by societal norms of gender and drag. We are queer and we have something to say.  

Photos by Lex Posed

What do we & our readers need to remember about you?

Drag is more than what people would expect. Drag is often thought of as males dressing up and performing as females but if you really want to make a statement about gender you have to broaden your vision from a binary concept of gender to a fluid one. Gender is not binary, nor set in stone. Through our performances, we want to challenge those ideas.

What is the (near) future bringing you?

Corona threw a wrench in our plans and future gigs. Drag queens are performance-based artists, so we depend on individual gigs for our income. Now more than ever freelance artists are struggling because of measures related to the pandemic. This is why, as a collective, we decided to use virtual spaces for the time being until we are able to perform in physical spaces again.

What are you up to these days?

We’re taking this time as an opportunity to take care of our physical and mental health. As artists we are often pushing ourselves to our limits, so taking some time to heal is necessary. We are fortunate enough to live in environments where we are able to do this healing and recognise that not everyone has this privilege. During these times it’s important to reflect on our privilege, advocate for those who are living in less than ideal situations, and rethink the political structures that maintain inequalities in our society.

What artists are you listening to?

Camille Pier. We first saw Camille perform at Slam-T, a slam poetry event organised by one of our dear friends Tilke Wouters. There he performed his piece Divinités which he wrote for Trans Visibility Day 2019. Also Pussy Riot, the way they convey a political message through their art inspires us.

Which records are you playing most right now?

Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs and the first album by Bedouine. These albums are ideal for listening to on long walks. It really helps to calm the nerves. And also the song 'Mary Magdalene' by FKA twigs. She’s art.

What makes your heart go faster these days?

Seeing other artists embrace new technologies to create beautiful art during this time of crisis. Making use of virtual spaces can alter the way in which the audience views your work. It can give the artist more control and forces you to innovate.

What are you doing daily at 9pm/9am?

Most of us are still asleep at 9am now that we don’t have a job or classes to go to. Being well-rested is important for anyone, but it is tempting to stay in bed and do nothing all day. Around 9pm we’re usually trying to decide what movie we want to watch that night or doing the dishes after dinner we just shared.

How do you bring some routine into your days? 

Bringing routine into our daily life is important for mental health. When we wake up we take some time to have breakfast and do a yoga routine or a skincare routine. Besides that, we have a schedule for who cooks what at night. That way we don’t have to cook every night and we can all eat together. Making food is a great example of how we can take care of each other during the pandemic.

What do your face masks look like?

In drag, the face we put on is achieved through make-up. Unlike a regular face mask however, it makes your skin worse.

What’s your personal utopia?

A world where there is no discrimination of any kind. Our current political climate seems to embolden people to express and act on their overt discriminatory beliefs. However, we also need to keep unpacking the more covert forms of oppression like microaggressions that people with different backgrounds face every day. In doing so, we need to recognise our own privilege and the ways in which we ourselves might be complicit in acts of oppression. Being critical on yourself is hard, which is why we need to allow each other to make mistakes instead of getting caught up in cancellation culture. We’re all trying to grow together.

What brings you satisfaction?

What brings us satisfaction is when we’ve finished a performance and are glad about how it went. Preparing for a drag performance can be very time consuming, especially if you want to make it memorable. When it’s over and it went well we can take some time to decompress before moving on to the next one.

What’s your favourite lockdown Instagram account? 

@lekstok is our official photographer and also our roommate. They have been taking our pictures for a while, but they also inspire us by the fascination for human bodies that come from their work. They want to provoke different ways of looking at skin, body shapes and bodily fluids such as menstruation blood. Their overall message creates an intimate view through absurdity and surrealism. 

Preparing for a drag performance can be very time consuming, especially if you want to make it memorable

What’s your favourite lockdown book? 

A book we feel everyone should read is Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen. It deconstructs so many of our ingrained beliefs and viewpoints on food and bodies. For fat people, it contains several breakthroughs, breakdowns, and relatable content. And for thin people, it can serve as a guide to become better allies in the battle against fatphobia. Also, Sofie Hagen is just hilarious.

What’s your favourite lockdown film? 

120 battements par minute is a film about the Act Up! movement in Paris which spread awareness about the AIDS virus. During this pandemic, it’s interesting to see the parallels between the AIDS crisis in the 80s and the current one. AIDS didn’t get recognised as a threat until way later because most of its victims were members of the queer community. This highlights the importance of identity politics in health policy.

How do you keep healthy? 

On a superficial level, we try to keep healthy by eating lots of vegetables and doing yoga but it’s equally important to take care of your mental health. Living with other people who check in on how you are doing helps a lot. But also knowing when to give each other space is necessary at times. 

What’s one of your sources of inspiration that may surprise people?

We find a lot of inspiration in observing the mainstream culture and questioning the norms that lie within it. Our drag is all about delivering commentary on society’s taken-for-granted practices, certainly when it comes to gender expression, but also beyond that.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?

In the year 2030 we would like for this pandemic to be over so we can hug our friends again.

we need to respect how everyone is dealing with this crisis

How does the current crisis make you feel?

Seeing the impact that this current crisis has on many people who live in poverty saddens us, but at the same time, it motivates us more to take political action so that there are fewer inequalities. Political action can happen through art. We always prioritize including political messages in our drag performances to spread awareness on certain issues.

How important are fellow companions now? How do you reach out?

We take the time to go on one-on-one walks with our friends to get some fresh air and to check in on each other. Different people handle this pandemic differently, so it’s important to know who is in need of a conversation and who needs some space. We need to remember that this is a tough time for all of us and that we need to respect how everyone is dealing with this crisis.

What is the latest/future project you are working on?

Our next project is going to be a drag show called Sanctuary: A Night of Drag in our favourite queer-run bar in Ghent: Blond. Blond has always supported us as a drag collective. They hosted the first event we organised ourselves (Heteroville) and we hope to work with them again.

Did you have an exhibition/concert/show on your agenda these days? Which one?

Besides our drag show Sanctuary we were really looking forward to performing at the opening night of Queer Space, which is a yearly month-long event organised by KWIER. KWIER is a collective based in Ghent that organises events by queers for queers. Last year they hosted us for our very first performance at Queerkoorts. This year, like many other organisers, they decided to host all their events for Queer Space digitally.

What will the second part of 2020 bring you?

Hopefully, the second part of 2020 will bring more shows for us. Otherwise, we will keep having to rely on digital platforms to sustain our performances. We really miss performing live at venues because it’s easier to connect with our audience that way.

Who is the person that most influenced you throughout your development in life?

What influenced us most throughout our lives was the practices of other artists, whether it be visual or audio. An example of this is performance art. It feels like such a broader artform with fewer limits. We really like female performance artists like Laurie Anderson and Marina Abramović.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned lately?

Now that we’ve all been isolating ourselves for a while we’ve had some time to reflect on what the absence of social interaction means for us. Some of us realised that we are not as much of an extravert as we thought or the other way around. Often we assume that we are a certain way because it has become such a part of our routine. Now that we have broken with those routines we’re learning either how draining too much social interaction is or how much we crave it.

Is there anyone in your scene who needs more attention? 

Ann-Sophie Dewaele has many different projects going on. She’s currently working on a project called Not From Violence which is an ode to periods and menstruation as experienced by an inclusive cast of collaborators. Besides that, she is also involved in the feminist collective Girls Go Boom! who recently was the opening act for Pussy Riot for their Riot Days tour. Finally, she’s also a member of KWIER.

Comfort food/specialty dish now?

Anything vegan.

Lockdown hobby?

During the evenings we like to watch a movie with our roommates and recently we’ve been rediscovering classic queer movies. We think it’s important to learn about the struggles that past generations faced and the battles they fought to earn us our rights.


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