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Performativity, Privacy, and Space: The Chronicles of the Closet

Anna T.
Dissertationsstipendiatin an der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien | Abschluss-Stipendium des Doktoratszentrums 2015|16


Starting point of this research is the spatiotemporal apparatus of the proverbial closet (from the expression “come out of the closet”). The project explores the closet’s linguistic background and language production, its relation to performativity, and the paradoxical time/space qualities it entails. Generated as a physical and notional space in the beginning of the Fordist era it still acts as a place of reference for minoritarian social categories without visible markers. Drawing from binarisms such as safety/peril, private/public, personal/political, this research examines the contradicting elements of binaries, the liminal spaces they form, and the points these intersect in. It explores the materiality of this space, the objects that construct it and how/why they are deconstructed, and moves on to investigate not only how language implements this device, but how the closet itself produces linguistic registers, social space, and culture(s). Furthermore it looks into language as a form of spatial representation and cognition, examines subjectivity in relation to space and time, and explores sexual geographies. How does language shape the closet and how does the closet in turn inform language? Is there such a thing as “queer space” and if so, where and when does it exist? (How) can “coming out” be a collective experience? How does privacy, or the lack of it, affect communication codes in the public domain? How is that performed? This project is situated among queer and post-colonial theories, lavender linguistics, and performance studies and adopts a fluid, and often inconsistent understanding of queer, queering, and queerness, drawing from its history and nature while employing academic methods (such as textual analysis, and linguistics), combined with personal experiences (and autoethnographic tactics), and artistic practices.


Born in 1984 Anna studied Photography, Video and New Media in Athens (GR) and holds a Master’s Degree in Queer Studies in Arts & Culture from Birmingham City University (UK). She is currently a PhD candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (PhD in Practice) researching the proverbial closet. Her work spans from photography and video, to interactive audiovisual installations, and graffiti. Recurrent themes in her work are subjectivities in relation to time and space, normativity, and public and private space. Typical of her work is the extensive use of ready-made objects, digital media and the invitation for the audience to become an integral part of the work via interaction. She has worked as a cultural producer, curator, and festival artistic director, and has collaborated extensively with academics, activists, and fellow creatives in Greece, the UK, Germany, and Austria. Since 2003 she has exhibited and participated in numerous exhibitions and new media festivals in Europe, North and South America, and Australia.