Like many precariat gig workers in the cultural sector, Lou Drago’s (pronoun they/them) activities don’t fit neatly into one category, although at various moments they could be described as an artist, curator, writer, radio producer or DJ.
Drago will present some of their past and current projects to the class at Lucerne School of Art and Design, offering ideas on alternative ways to navigate an increasingly commercialised art-world and staying true to what one values as an artist and person. From DIY beginnings, Drago used public spaces as galleries and worked with non-profit project spaces in order to slowly develop their ideas, often within collective structures.
In 2016, Drago contributed to founding XenoEntities Network, Berlin, a collective who focuses their research on queer, gender and feminist studies and their interactions with digital technologies. Over the recent years they have hosted film screenings, discussions, lectures and performances, almost always accompanied by a discursive element. Their programmes revolve around contemporary art and philosophical-theoretical themes such as post-humanism, (xeno)feminism, anti-capitalism, indigenous epistemologies, surveillance technologies, the environmental crisis, etc. They host regular meetings, Assemblages, that stimulate research on these ideas with their community. Through the discussion of these topics, they speculate about new forms of existence, being-together and they explore the expansion of bodies and subjectivities within both the digital and physical realms.
Drago’s artistic practice examines anxiety as a common public feeling produced (at least in part) by the precarious and destructive nature of capitalism and aims to combat this in short moments of alleviation, all the while drawing awareness to the root of the problem. This work manifests itself in various formats; a monthly radio show on Berlin-based experimental station Cashmere Radio called, Transience, in which they invite a different artist each month to reflect on these topics through sound. Their work Suspending Time: Meditations for accessing alternate space/time in music, which has been shown mostly in museums and galleries reaches a different audience and introduces the concept of accessing vertical time as a way of obviating thought in order to be temporarily relieved from the weight of (self-)consciousness. Another piece, Dissident Vespers, is another branch of this work that pays special attention to the environment and responds to the setting-sun.
Digger deeper into the cause of this collective anxiety, Drago’s recent research is concerned with finding ways to coalesce all of those who fail — or refuse — to fit the patriarchal, neoliberal mould in an attempt to reunite what we have witnessed to be an increasingly fractured Left. Keenly aware of the role identity politics have played in dividing the Left, Drago carefully navigates between their commitment to gender abolitionism and other
xeno-feminist desires and a politics of ‘Radical Sociability’ that aims to enact an intersectional affinity-based politics. Drago has presented lectures, created a podcast and has hosted a panel on this research.
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