London, Saturday 11 July 2015, 3:30pm on Edgware Road.

This is an invitation to join a one-hour reading of Zoe Leonard’s 1992 text “I want a president…”

The reading will be both in Arabic and English and take place at Nutford Place on Edgware Road (London, W2).

The reading marks the commencement of Alia Farid’s ‘A Stage for Any Revolution’ developed through the Serpentine Galleries’ Centre for Possible Studies/Edgware Road Project and presented during the Shubbak Festival.

London, Wednesday May 6 2015 6.15pm on the steps of Trafalgar Square

An invitation to read together on the eve of the UK General Election.

On 6 May 2015, please join us on the steps of Trafalgar Square (directly outside the National Gallery) at 6.15pm for a 6.30pm start.
We will be reading artist Zoe Leonard’s manifesto “I want a president…” (1992) alongside an updated version for 1 hour, after which we will reconvene in a local park or pub (depending on the weather) to celebrate.
Bring yourselves, your lovers, your comrades, your family and friends.
Join the event on Facebook

Public discussion: Kajsa Dahlberg at Archive Kabinett in Berlin, 17 September 2014

Organised in relation to the exhibition Manifesto Show: Act I, artist Kajsa Dahlberg joined a public discussion focused on a series of collective readings that she has been involved in organising with collaborators Malin Arnell, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund.

The on-going project began as an invitation, circulated by the group amongst their community in Stockholm, asking people to come together to read in unison a text written by Zoe Leonard in 1992. Organised to coincide with 2010 General Election, the reading was a ‘response to an increasingly neoliberal political climate in a country just about to give space in parliament to an upcoming fascist, racist and homophobic party’. It took place in Sergels Torg, a public square with long history of political activity that is situated in the centre of the city. It was never anticipated that the event, which was initiated by the group out of political urgency and not articulated within the context of their artistic practice, would continue to have a life beyond this first iteration. Yet, in response to further invitations from various individuals and institutions, the readings have subsequently happened in various centres across Europe.

The conversation between Dahlberg and UK based curator Laura Guy coincided with both the Swedish General Election and an important referendum, to establish the independence of Scotland, in the UK. It was motivated by a desire for a reading to take place in the UK in relation to the forthcoming General Election in 2015.

In dialogue with the themes of the exhibition, the event will attempt to unpack the project in relation to ideas of translation, temporality, feminist collectivity and forms of political speech.

Archive Kabinett
Dieffenbachstraße 31, 10967 Berlin

San Juan, Monday November 5 2012, 4:15 pm at Plazoleta del Centro Minillas frente al Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, avenida de Diego

PuertoRico2012 237web

PuertoRico2012 241webImage

«Je veux une gouine comme présidente» par Agnès Giard

Agnès Giard wrote a short note on our reading at la Fontaine des Innocents in Paris yesterday in the Libération Next Magazine.

You can read it here (in French).

Paris, Saturday April 7 2012, 2pm at Fontaine des Innocents

Les élections présidentielles françaises approchent. Pour exprimer notre désaccord avec les choix politiques proposés, nous lirons le 7 avril, le texte de Zoe Leonard, “Je veux une gouine comme présidente”, en français et en anglais.

Cette lecture a lieu à l’initiative d…’activistes féministes françaises et du collectif monté par des artistes suédoises “I want a president…”.
Malin Arnell, Kajsa Dahlberg, Johanna Gustavsson and Fia-Stina Sandlund ont lu le texte de Zoe Leonard pour la première fois en suédois au moment des élections législatives de 2010, qui ont vu l’entrée au Parlement suédois de l’extrême-droite.
Elles ont ensuite participé à d’autres lectures collectives à l’invitation d’activistes féministes d’autres pays européens (Finlande, Estonie, Danemark, Espagne).

Comme elles, nous voulons rassembler des activistes, des artistes, des amiEs et des collègues pour protester contre le climat politique de plus en plus néolibéral.

Rejoignez-nous le 7 avril, à 14h à la Fontaine des Innocents à Paris pour cette lecture collective.

PDF for print in French

Queer and Then? by Michael Warner in The Chronicle

In his article in The Chronicle, published January 1 2012, Michael Warner writes about the history of queer and queer theory.

… What is often forgotten about that moment is that the term came from grass-roots politics before it became theory. Act Up had already made possible a politics directed against shame and normalization, and aiming at a complex mobilization of people beyond sexual identity. It in turn gave rise to other groups, including Queer Nation—whose name seemed, as I recall, mainly hilarious to all of us who heard it.

The emblematic example of that kind of street politics, for me, was an anonymous, photocopied broadside that was handed around during the 1992 primary season. (Its author, the artist Zoe Leonard, was a member of Fierce Pussy, a lesbian feminist group with roots in Act Up.) It began with a simple declaration that looked like a familiar kind of lesbian politics: “I want a dyke for president.” (In queer studies, that would now be called “homonationalism.”) But very quickly, the prose morphed into a set of wishes that, from clause to clause, gained in evocative power as they moved away from anything that might be imagined within legitimate politics. I quote the remainder in full, because it is not widely remembered or reprinted:

And further down Warner continues: … At its best, queer theory has always also been something else—something that will be left out of any purely intellectual history of the movement. Like “I want a dyke for president,” it has created a kind of social space. Queer people of various kinds, both inside and outside academe, continue to find their way to it, and find each other through it. In varying degrees, they share in it as a counterpublic…

Read the whole article here

Michael Warner is a professor and chair of the department of English, and a professor of American studies, at Yale University. Among his books is The Trouble With Normal: Sex, Politics, and the Ethics of Queer Life (Free Press, 1999).