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27 February 2017
Frau Diamanda/Hector Acuña
Interview with Frau Diamanda/Hector Acuña

Irina Mutt

I’d really like to begin this with something like an introduction. You’ve been in Barcelona for several months now and we’ve seen you at MACBA, at gay pride parties and various other events… But for anybody who doesn’t know much about you: what are your references and your context? Could you explain briefly how Frau Diamanda began, or how Héctor Acuña met Frau…

Frau Diamanda, as a performative art project, strategy, body-object or life made into art and vice versa, begins in 1999 in Lima, Peru, in the context of a socio-political truce post-terrorism or an internal Peruvian war. Héctor discovered his first multiplication into ellx, he is the strategist, the director and actor who places his body and own life at the service of a multiple game of successive and compulsive multiplications, in which the physical body and reality merge with fiction. The platforms of interaction discovered along the way diversified and it was no longer about intervening or affecting underground circuits (new wave, experimental electronic music, the gay/transvestite/drag scene) so much as the interactive artefact overflowed into the street managing moreover to infect in time and under the premise of creative obstinacy, the circuits of art, museums and galleries. Frau Diamanda as a hybrid subject shows us an impossible and monstrous mixture, by redefining socially imposed rigid conventions such as gender, social class, race, the sense of belonging and the political trend through mechanisms stemming from the transcultural, theatre, farce, the artificial, the abject and the psychosexual. Trafficking with all sorts of signs, incorporating them into corporal and aesthetic designs proposed through the marginal transvestite, the diva, the sexual terrorist and corrosive glamour.

These adventures, multiplications and vital explorations produced three exhibitions of visual art and new media in the Centro Cultural de España in Lima between the years 2003 and 2009, with the resulting collaboration and development of affective and creative ties with this institution. Over the passage of time, chance and the intrusion into new spaces, led to encounters and collaborations with hundreds of other artists, musicians, video-artists, film-makers, writers, journalists, photographers, designers, activities, theorists, in short a mass of collaborations that aimed to seek out the new and transgressor in a dull, monotonous context. I’ve already developed, in this new phase in Barcelona, important collaborations with activist platforms such as Acathi, associations, cultural centres and squatters; musical platforms like Frente Sónico Futurista and sound ensembles with Cesko Slovenska, alias Francisco Estrada, Vyltage, alias Miguel Rivero, Yvgvlar in duet with Jordi Flecos; platforms for intervention with Rosa Silvestre and 1m+kladydi, curatorial projects with the independent curator Alex Brahim, a participation in the trans-feminist short by Linda Pornsánchez, a photographic project with Candela Cuervo as well as other future plans and collusions.

No so long ago it was possible to see an introduction to the Pornífero festival that you curated and organised in Barcelona. Beyond placing in circulation and making visible practices, desires and non-normative bodies, considering post-porn (or porno-punk, I’m not sure what to call it) as a political tool connected to queer theory: To what extent does the geopolitical and economic context affect the putting into practice, the bodies that embody the theory?

The curatorial project Pornífero Festival of Ibero-American Postporn Video art is born from the logical consequence of my performatic work based on, but not limited to, a focus on alternative sexualities, abjection and sexual disobedience of the hetero-norm. What happened is that thanks to the networks strong ties of complicity were interwoven with other artists, theorists, activists, voyeurs and practitioners of this sexual-politics that establishes experimentation/exploration as a premise where subaltern bodies can discover genuine forms of corpus-sexual and audio-visual pleasure, and at the same time, directly respond to phallocentric hetero-capitalism. The dis/encounter and affinities that could exist between post-porn practices of the first world and Latin America are related beyond their geographical and cultural distances, in as much as political and dictatorial regimes have historically been imposed upon us, generating a specific geopolitical model. This, moreover, has implied a state or climate of violence and death towards those who are or who consider ourselves different and critical of the hetero-patriarchal oppressive system. Something in common is the use of the body, sex and sexuality as motors of energy the cathartic undercurrent of which affects the private and public environment. The aesthetics can be disparate, but we find accordance in the use of a sexual discharge that borders on surfeit and the diffuse, disseminated through space, generating questions about how to apprehend reality and the world through sexual rituals.

There is something I really like about the staging of the performance in your presentations. There is a lot of oral history, direct or close experiences, video documents, photographic records, etc. of your work or from other people… It could be said that there is a desire to archive, to document recent history so that it can be reactivated or placed in circulation (histories that in many cases of peripheral cultures or LGTB usually disappear, dissipate or are lost, due to pure precariousness, lack of resources, premature deaths, oversight, etc.). And despite this character of an archive there is also a strong presence of the body: drag, transvestite, make-up, oral history and close characters, friends, direct context, etc. things closer to what would be a personal diary. Could you explain a little about these relations, if there are any, between museum, documentation, and archive versus life lived, body, and experience?

Based on personal experiences, the obsessive recompilation of material and archives, and a desire to show and name accomplices in these conflicts of sexual disobedience, I’ve managed to produce three projects in the format of an travelling audio-visual portfolio, namely: Frau Diamanda: Subaltern Wrestling in Drag, Arte Tr@ns Peruvian and Pornífero Festival. I accept that there exists a temporal and contextual logic in the design of each proposal, stemming from my own personal project as Frau Diamanda, the desire to collect and analyse proposals by Peruvian artists with shared, or similar, political, sexual or aesthetic alignments and even to tackle other geographies from one’s own through the use of the Internet as an interactive continuum. One where I discovered theory, open calls and festivals that confirmed my suspicions of not being alone in the struggle for, incidentally, I was already doing psycho-sexual performances in 1999 of a markedly auto-pornographic and sexual dissidence nature. What I discovered on the way, although it stemmed from pure instinct or sexual overflow, took on a conceptual and analytical through the concrete fact of taking on the role of becoming my own curator, for what better mentality to analyse the transvestite body than the transvestite in person. I’ve always been very obsessive with the recompilation of my own material, an accumulated archive I gave finally to the MAC (Contemporary Art Museum) in Lima and, incidentally I ought to confess that I later felt like a cadaver and urgently proposed a new, risky and definitive splitting: an exile from where to begin from zero.

Often the most interesting gazes on the gay sub-world of Barcelona have been made by people who weren’t from here: Jean Genet, Ocaña, Nazario. Now that I think about it, they are all authors prior to the existence of the gay zone of the Eixample…In any case, where I’m headed: I’m a big fan of your Catalan Scenes. They have something of a diary (or once again this archival vocation) and depart considerably from any official routes. Is anything interesting left in Barcelona? What is your impression of the ambience of the city?

Since before my arrival in Barcelona I had already decided to close important stages of my life like the fact of not missing too much my family and close friends. What I was able to discover, initially, is the direct and brutal confrontation between my South American idealization of a cosmopolitan European city and its real face that I’m still in the process of exploring and understanding. Where the status of the immigrant supposes plunging into a never ending abyss of legal traps, apathy, anxiety and economic cruelty, and lets not leave to one side the fact of being visibly a marika, transvestite, South American, coloured, precarious and exotic, which could generate more homophobic and discriminatory tensions which, nevertheless, until now has not happened. Personally, I experience a sense of being made welcome, good vibes, an energy and interest in my new future in a different geography and culture. One of the mechanisms that I have developed over time and with experiences is that of apprehending new spaces through sexual outbursts using my own body as a shock device. I’m a totally sexual being who places in practice already not just a discourse or appeal, so much as also a real sex life. The “Catalan Scenes” are the result of this activation. It is what Barcelona has given me in these first months of insertion, reception, exploration, experimentation, trial, and error. I’ve also re-encountered the writing that I had put aside, as basically I needed to enter into a state of continuous alert that forces me to create; adrenaline, overflow, chaos. This new European stage imposes cultural shocks that are my new breeding ground for creation. Many people ask me if these micro-stories are true or not, and I can only say that they are literary exercise where the real and the fictional merge once again following the guidelines of a body that only discovers the truth through sex. I’d love for these micro stories to become an editorial project in queer punk.

At times I’ve asked myself why there is no lesbian cruising or sauna scene. Diana the porno-terrorist tried with other friends tried to make the project “perras horizontals”, where they offered sexual services to women, but the project failed, to a large extent due to a lack of demand. Why do you think this no holds barred sex doesn’t click with women?

Cruising as a socio-sexual recreational practice is definitively unbalanced between the gay and lesbian community. The gay man still maintains the privilege copied or inherited from the heterosexual man regarding the public environment in which cruising is accepted and tolerated with no questions asked. The case of the body of the bio-woman or lesbian is different a conduct of affirmation has not yet been developed to counter the abundance of feminine sexuality in public spaces. On this point I ought to mention the forceful efforts of the projects Perrxs Horizontales and the Collective Post Op of Barcelona and in passing comment on the marvellous experience that I had at the Worm art space in Rotterdam, Holland, where “When we are together, we can be everywhere” by the German film-maker Marit Osberg was projected, a film that deals with the subject of queer punk lesbians cruising in Berlin. It’s magnificent, I recommend it to you!

Irina Mutt she keeps on quoting Annie Sprinkle.


27 February 2017

Interview with Frau Diamanda/Hector Acuña

19 December 2016

Looking for problems

15 November 2015

The writer is present

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