Archive: Issue No. 79, March 2004

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Not pink - red, purple and inflamed!
by Steven Cohen

In my work, I am a magnificent goddess... part punk, part princess, a hyper-vigilant and militantly critical soldier in stilettos in the service of beauty. All this created from a short, fat, bald, middle-aged Jewish man with his head up his arse. That's the art of being queer, the magic we can make from the abject, and our power is, unlike secretive witches, to cast those spells well seen in public.

As a queen, I've tried to fulfil my obligations; my arse-on-fire faggot at a Bridal show, my dildo-dance at a dog show, douche drinking in public. I've faced fascists, sportsmen, squatters, shoppers, animals, racists, homophobes, families and police, not as a rebel, as an outlaw, as an arsehole; never a hero, only as art. I oblige myself always to be truly an artist, and a queer, and a Jew.

Jews are historically seen as passive, hook-nosed, flat-footed and off-white, effeminised through a mutilated penis, menstruating, hysterical, homosexual and stinking. It's a lot to live up to, but I try! And not in a theatrical way, in an alimentary way.

In the straight world, our brave deeds are often dismissed as pranks, and our challenges to heterosexual control of censorship are called scandals. In the straight world, if we bow a lot, we get fucked a lot, 'cause our cunts are in the rear, and everyone knows it.

Recently I was fired from the piece the ballet is making and, disillusioned, had occasion to take a good hard look at what a shit I really am. With the help of a micro-camera mounted inside a dildo, I made a work where I filmed inside and out my own private ground zero, my dirty arsehole, haemorrhoids flecked with shit and glitter - red, purple and inflamed, not pink! Pink is the stuff you can sell... I'm trying to make work a colour that's hard to buy.

And the work Dancing Inside Out (2004) is not only about de-sanctifying the arsehole - so up there in our iconography - it's about me shitting the scare out of me. There is something about that level of personal investigation that people find castrating - or maybe it's just because I call it dance.