Saturday, 16 July 2016

Christeene @ Latitude 2016

What is Christeene?
Formerly a ‘machine’, variously a ‘queer art terrorist’ or ‘messiah of the dispossessed, now returning, via Soho Theatre’s sponsorship, with harder, tighter grooves and better dance routines. American queer hip-hip, filtered through punk and outrage and the taint of drag.

What is the impact?
Room reduced to half-full within first song upon appearance of Christeene and two dancers. Those who ‘should not’ be there quickly left. Those who remain, remain. Devotional and, as Christeene points out: the moment of liveness, being together (notional: temporary autonomous community), the rejection of the mediation of the machine (as this speech is made, camera phones are bought out).

What is Queer (reference to specific event/character context)?
American queer not identical to British tradition (possibly defined by films of Jarman, in short/simple slogan). Associations: Peaches, Revolting Cocks – artists marked by ironic appropriation of excess. The judgement of society by its own measures, only this time from the perspective of the judged excluded. Example: song that mocks outward forms of masculine display (and introductory speech) in heteronormative modes. Appropriation of dominant culture (hip hop, electronic dance music) towards subversive ends. Rejection of heteronormativity and possibly gendered identity.

Is this more than a gig?
Rock music (et c) has relied on ideas of authenticity. Christeene is a created character, self-conscious and yet promoting (shades of the preacher) a libidinal revolution. Emphasis on this moment now, this feeling now (generic rock etc tropes). Yet also: backing tracks, monologues (Bruce Springsteen had he grown up in the backwoods and queer). Production values betray irony, content does not.

Immediate Impact?


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