Imagine a magical alternate world where all your preconceived notions of gender are erased. There are lights, music, art and fashion, and the drinks are flowing. Welcome to the Gender Cocktail, a new event during DesignMarch that opens up a space for the lines of gender to fade away into a daytime drag party. Organisers and participants Tanja Huld Levý Guðmundsdóttir, Andri Hrafn Unnarson and Darren Mark sat down with us to spill the tea.
The new spectrum
“It’s a space where you can have your questions about gender answered and ask yourself new ones,” says Andri. “Sometimes the understanding of gender as a concept is kind of shallow because it’s not really a discussion. The gender spectrum is not black and white. It’s all in between. Now is the time and place to set the stage for new ideas and expressions.”
This space for questioning was the brainchild of Andri and local drag queen Deff Starr, who became acquainted by sharing a co-working space and meeting up for screenings of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Deff Starr planted the seed by sharing the idea of having a designer drag show with the theme of gender, and it snowballed from there. The event now comprises over a dozen collectives and designers working in mixed media and performance to explore a genderless universe for three hours.
Biting the apple
The theme is the Garden of Eden, going back in time before the two genders of Adam and Eve were defined. “We want to explore what happened before that,” says Tanja. “We’re creating this universe of what happened before.” Darren adds: “Instead of only those two original male and females, what if instead there were these genderless creatures that came to be and what would have happened if it went onto that dialogue?”
This dialogue is both huge and ever-expanding, they say. “It’s not like one definite answer,” continues Tanja. “You can dive into it and you can find a lot of answers. You can go in so many directions. I think that’s so liberating.” The conversation of gender is one where the more questions you ask, the larger it becomes. Still, the Gender Cocktail is a fun and playful environment to let that subject grow.
A huge facet of the event is being able to collaborate with the Drag-Súgur collective and the elaborate clothing and design that goes into their work, and to showcase that to a new audience. “Drag is such a strong gender-based art form and it’s not everybody that goes to the bars and clubs to experience that,” says Andri. “I think it’s really great and something new for the drag scene to finally work within DesignMarch.”
At the core, they hope their audience will have a lot of fun and be able to explore themselves. “This space can be really strong in sending a message of embracing both your feminine side just as much as your masculine side and everywhere in between,” says Darren. “It presents a balance within your own being. I think it’s going to become a very empowering experience for people.”
INFO: The Gender Cocktail happens Saturday, March 30th at 14:00 at Kex Hostel. Tickets are 1,500 ISK on tix.is. Show up in drag for free entrance. Kids are free too!
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