I Didn’t Know I Loved You

2009
Performance and single channel video
Color, sound
10 mins

I Didn’t Know I Loved You is a site-specific collaborative performance and installation made for the 2009 Istanbul biennial, What Keeps Mankind Alive?, curated by the Crotian collective WhW. The work is one of a series of performances that I staged with Becca Blackwell, parts of which were incorporated into the 2010 video work, Parole. I Didn’t Know I Loved You examines the conditions under which collective political and social identifications are constructed. The piece examines expressions of political desire and their relation to the emancipatory possibilities of public speech in the social context of enforced heteronormativity and political repression. The piece was made in collaboration with performers from İstanbul who engage in a line public speech acts extending down the pedestrian walkway, Istiklal caddesi, in the Beyoğlu district of the city. The text of the piece steps off of writings from visitors to Istanbul, including James Baldwin, and addresses the complicated terrain of transgeographic queerness, activating both a global and local public sphere. I am particularly interested in ways in which texts, words, phrases, and images move amongst queers across time and space. None of this distributions flow without material economic and ideological attachments, and all of them flow in and out of various local contexts, constantly attaching to a multitude of political struggles and conflicts.