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Transdisciplinary: an interview with scene queen Olympia Bukkakis

Australian Berliner Olympia Bukkakis can do more than lie there and look pretty: she performs, gives lectures and organizes and hosts events

Olympia Bukkakis by Brigid Cara

Jul. 4, 2017 – Olympia Bukkakis is less interested in her cheekbones than in the contours of social stratification. She spoke to SIEGESSÄULE about her busy Pride month – which does not include marching along in the parade

There wasn't an alternative Pride this year, and you said you won’t be going to the main Pride, either. As a politically minded person, can you explain why that doesn't interest you? I think that queer political protest is vital, but at the same time, Pride has been hijacked. Community groups around the world are being forced to give way to corporate floats. Many of these same corporations directly and indirectly profit from the state of perpetual war that we're experiencing, and queers, trans* people, POC and women bear the brunt of these catastrophes, so I don't think that these companies should be able to buy their way into Pride – especially not at the expense of activist and community groups. So, yeah, I think it's important to take part, but I feel super conflicted. I'm not interested in standing next to a rainbow flag with an IBM logo on it. 

Tell me a bit about “Gender Euphoria”, your performance lecture for “Produktive Äquivalenz”, Humboldt University's symposium about metaphor. At the moment, I'm really interested in the contributions to drag culture and spaces by people who are trans*, non-binary or gender non-conforming. People like me, who don't feel comfortable existing in a gender binary, can just present work. Outside of drag spaces, I will always be considered a “drag artist”, but in a drag space, I can present something, and people will simply look at it. I'm examining how drag practices provide a vehicle for performers to create work, and to create identities. 

What kind of audience are you expecting? It's open to the public, so everyone can come. I'm super interested in theory and how it relates to practical, concrete realities. I want to present this in a meaningful, accessible way. 

You also have the third episode of Apocalypse Tonight coming up. How did the concept come about? Cheryl Offoffoff-Broadway is one of my favorite performers, and we always talked about doing a talk show together. My partner, Collective Anxiety, is very concerned with disaster imagery in the media, and I'm inspired by him. We're interested in addressing what the idea of an impending apocalypse does to us societally. We cover broad political events as well as things happening in the local community, sometimes injecting a bit of theory, but with plenty of crass jokes. It's streamed live online as well.

You also host Naked Boys Reading. The original concept is by Dr. Sharon Husbands in the UK, who is an angel. She allowed us to use her format. The feeling of being read to is very soothing, and with the sexually charged atmosphere, it's an interesting combination. The theme for the next edition is “Other Selves”, and it's curated by Maurus from Ludwig. 

You're resurrecting your show Get Fucked for a special takeover at Yo! Sissy. What can we expect? We'll be presenting a bunch of weird stuff. “Get Fucked” developed organically, weekly, over the course of three or four years. The basic idea is to build a bridge between traditional forms of queer nightlife and entertainment, like drag, and other kinds of performance, be it musical or whatever. This city has so much talent, and I'm really excited to see the festival bring it together.

Interview: Joey Hansom

Gender Euphoria: Drag as a Construction Site for New Gender Realities
Jul. 8, 19:00, Jacob-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum

Apocalypse Tonight with Cheryl & Olympia
Jul. 12, 20:00, Ludwig

Naked Boys Reading
Jul. 23, 19:00, Ludwig

Get Fucked
Jul. 28, Yo! Sissy Music Festival, Festsaal Kreuzberg



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