CLUB involves sequins, movement and the intention to create a safe space to be ourselves. It references histories of the CLUB, where people, perhaps excluded from other CLUBs, create their own CLUB.
Since the CLUB is identified by the bodies that inhabit a given space, as well as the solidarity and companionship engendered, it is inherently a lightning rod for politics, where identities and representation are self-defined.
CLUB is about those nights when I danced for hours on end and was somehow liberated-- able to come close to being my authentic self. The loud music (disco mostly) was a force field of protection. I associate disco with glitter, catsuits and sweat- so the £11.99 ASOS catsuit has become a signifier of the CLUB.
"… dancing, particularly to techno, was also a way I felt a euphoric joy in my own body—particularly with techno, as it’s a music made for aliens that doesn’t presume a cis body. It’s a very practiced and minimalist corner of rave culture: the beats, the lights, the clothing, the drugs—it’s a Technics pared down to produce an ecstatic effect and no more. It’s better than how I remember it in the nineties."
CLUB was originally a project conceived for the collective GraceGraceGrace (we perform gender and aging) and operated via the disconnect of older women clubbing, owning/taking up space. In this iteration our CLUB was defined by the beads of sweat on our aging skin, and our insistence that we choose for ourselves how we perform being older on or off the DANCE FLOOR. We knocked on the doors of various CLUBs and If denied entry, we created our own CLUB, wherever the fuck we wanted. (We are currently teaching ourselves to tap dance.)
But CLUB had a life of its own and subsequent iterations involve integrating myself into other CLUBs where I have some connection through age, desire, gender or attitude. One format is to meet, share stories about our sense of marginalisation and then dance in a CLUB that we create because we exist together in that moment.
CLUB and karkhana collective are coming together to collaborate on an informal exercise involving dance, aiming to create our own guerrilla dancefloor, wherein we find solidarity. We will be performing for the camera for about three hours, dancing in groups of two, wearing matching sequined body suits. The music will be curated collaboratively to hold space for the joy and nostalgia of the performers' own relationships to the dancefloor. The space will be safe- not open to the public. We see this as a work in progress, as we work out what it means to make dance political.
Another iteration involves dancing for hours, in my catsuit, to disco music, oblivious to everything, in public or project spaces. I have also attended events wearing the catsuit as a way of taking up space/as a signifier of when I most feel my authentic self; when, as older and as a woman, I want to take up my rightful place in the aesthetic values of my culture, ensuring the recognition that we are all exquisite.
Durational performance of CLUB, 03 Oct, 2020, 3 hours, 20 minutes
Dhaka Bangladesh Photo credit: Faisal Jafar