HISTORY, PRACTICE AND THEORY
FCCC – Introduction
One of the most important things that the Future Clinic for Critical Care achieved was the creation of a multivalent inclusive queer social practice format that was hyper diverse, enabled the gathering of highly diverse audiences, enacted the work of activism via the making of great art grounded in the lived experiences of the people in the room. The dangerous laughter that erupted in the room during these events was founded on a group of non-majority folks getting over on the exclusive “mile high” forms of discrimination. In this fictional space dealing with the real paradoxes of care, POC, queer and disabled people united to produce genuine spaces of inclusion and group communication.
FCCC employed fictional modes in which artists, activists people providing and receiving care faced real shit, the difficult stuff of life, got angry, and celebrated the wins, the inclusive alliance that real queerness holds space for, the desires, and much more. FCCC was a site for transformation, taste the rainbow, put a look together, experience the bumpiness and beauty of being different together, being cranky together and the results were absolutely revelatory.
FCCC addressed a systemic culture of violence via wild comedy, and succeeded in rendering sexy that which could easily be ignored or labelled as abject: in short, the experiences of those whose voices are too often not heard. Instead, these folks were center stage and the mics were turned all the way up. Together we raised the raucous opinions of jesters, experts, tricksters and truth-sayers. We challenged ourselves and each other. We bore witness. We addressed an arcana of socio-political issues about what it means to be seen as “real” or “normal” within social constructs that leave way too many of us out of the picture. And we did all of this within the framework of FCCC: hosted by The Battlefield Nurse (a grumbling 500-year-old fictional fighter for human dignity), and a slew of many other amazing draggy character hosts, experts, guests, and the general public.
FCCC was informative, political, and the theory was accessible as it must be. Even the drag shows were theoretically informed by critical discourses (queer/feminist/disability), and we made art (as activism). FCCC was a socio-culturally animated platform that often ended with kick-ass parties. The parties were sexy as fuck. To make sure that everyone could attend we trained volunteers to take folks in wheelchairs back home in a cab and put them to bed if necessary. Note to self: Don’t go to a party unless its accessible. That’s sexy. Being different together was sexy. The umbrella alliance of queerness created spaces for non-normative bodies to feel right at home but it took hard work, planning and conscious effort to make such spaces possible. FCCC could also read as FUCK. It’s no accident – it was intentional. Norms define and confine bodies and it takes courage and lots of work to rework the norms that shape and cage us. It was dangerous and fun to fuck with the stale moldy codes and to revel in being different together on the dance floor when the music peaked and everyone was in it together. The hyper diverse and accessible parties thrown served to weave the days and evenings of the program into an ecstatic celebration within a newly formed temporary community.
NOTE: FCCC was a cranky and honest performative format that employed intersectional knowledge and strategies to talk about the complicated now. FCCC wasn’t simple or straightforward, it was fictional but it also real as hell. We also had big problems with institutions who tried to put pressure on the FCCC team to deliver a product without truly considering that we were working with disabled folks who needed spaces that were tuned into different speeds and needs. This is all part of the complicated now.
“FCCC is an agency for community defined autonomy”, Jeremy Wade.
FCCC – Where It All Began
FCCC has had eleven glorious programs conceived and directed by Jeremy Wade in directorial cahoots with people like Astrid Kaminski, Lisa Letansky, Robert Steinberger, Nina Mühlemann, Edwin Ramirez, Eva Egermann and James Leadbitter. We had over 45 invited guests that performed with us, not to mention incredible workshop participants and the incredible contributions of participants. FCCC has invited experts, guests and performers from a huge array of backgrounds – care providers, people receiving care, drag legends, academics, activists, and cultural workers of all persuasions. Weary of the product-orientated frontal presentation of academic symposia and the need to gather within in an environment that actually reflected a politics of care. Wade developed a format of daytime, evening only, and full-day events under the FCCC banner. In May 2017 he hosted the first Future Clinic for Critical Care in Berlin queer community center called The Aquarium (Südblock, Kottbusser Tor) with special guests Justin Kennedy, Matthias Vernaldi, Alice Romali (PENG Collective,) Hen & Mai of Nagel Neu, and Katerina Kokkinos Kennedy of Totemic Identity Healing (a puppet-making/craft workshop). The event was a great success and resonated with members of the community, guests and audiences.
In 2018, Jeremy Wade took the format to Zurich and hosted two FCCCC events in collaboration with Gessnerallee Zurich. Wade employed his alter/ego The Battlefield Nurse to start the conversation. He interviewed 12 individuals and groups asking what care meant to them which unearthed a vast collective archive about the politics of care. Every group interviewed participated in FCCC as either speakers or “performers”. This is social practice par excellence in terms of facilitating social encounters, sharing intimate and charged conversations, and inviting broad communities to participate and celebrate.
Please visit www.futureclinic.org for a detailed documentation of all events and participants.
Theory of FCCC
The Future Clinic for Critical Care (FCCC) began as a disability led and disability allied socio-cultural animated practice, actively exploring the messy and potentially emancipatory politics of care. A space where queer theory and disability studies spiraled around each other in solidarity. In critical times of crisis, austerity policy and infiltration of democracy by right-wing incitement, FCCC was reaching out to diverse collaborators to build coalitions of critical care to fight discrimination and exclusionary norms that non-majority people face daily. FCCC stretched the boundaries of care as a social political and artistic strategy informed by a legacy of feminist and civil rights movements. FCCC built on shared struggles and interdependencies but also made space for pessimism, frustration, disbelief, dark humor and dystopian rants. The term safe space does not guarantee the making of safe spaces. In FCCC relational minute to minute consent created consent and openness. Inclusion was not considered a check list. Within FCCC hosts and participants negotiated difference(s), processed critical perspectives and created spaces for consent and communication. In these fictional performative spaces, we worked to resituate emancipatory notions of care in order to (re)seed and (re)program the violent present. FCCC employed fiction, art, activism and humor to talk about real issues within local politics as “life giving,“ strategies for bodies in crisis.
Ongoing Aims of FCCC
Following editions in Zurich, Vienna and Berlin, FCCC is interested (more than ever) in creating continuity of practice and developing long term relations with local artists, activists, social workers and publics. Building alliances and creating an accessible environment that is founded on solidarity, trust and intimacy – which takes time. Berlin is yet another global site of unprecedented gentrification, and the exploitation of cultural workers within the branding of Berlin as a “creative state”. As such, FCCC seeks to provide a platform for an ecology of non-majority groups to strengthen and diversify their ties by building caring coalitions. Taking the term public seriously, we network and weave diverse publics to avoid the echo-chambers of sameness that gentrification and conservative politics manufactures. FCCC invites diverse publics via workshops, brunches, classes, reading groups and performances.
THE FUTURE CLINIC OF CRITICAL CARE – Concept and Practice
The FCCC was about being different together while using fiction to dream otherwise about more inclusive and less violent futures. The platform was founded on providing space and resources for crip culture [IJGJ3] to build futures with redefined body practices, rituals, crip visualities, forms of mourning, protest/disruption, conflict resolution tools, group experience and dancing steeped in a language of access. Key crip futures included rest, relax, slow down and celebrate by taking back time from the endless narratives and expectations associated with production, efficiency and virtuosic subjects.
• How can we be different together?
• How can we acknowledge that we all need each other and that we can all give and receive care?
• How can we make positive formulations of dependency sexy as hell?
• What are we taking care of and how do we spend time together and slow down despite
the endless pressures to be productive and efficient?
• What can we do together that we can’t do alone?
• How do we raise awareness and support people that are more vulnerable than ourselves?
• How can we situate an emancipatory version of care in the future as a fictional practice to re-program the present?
• How do we use the balance of art making and activism to create awareness and social change?
• Could strategies of critical caring give rise to new social movements and new forms of political engagement?