SASAHARA PAST LIVES
The SASAHARA PAST LIVES exhibition at Club cHurch took place between the 5th of May 2022 and the 30th of June 2022. It showcased the five first stories of the saga in the format of comic strips, one of them also being presented in a performance revisiting the tradition of oral storytelling. Each presented story is a past life of SasaHara, who acts as a catalyst for previous untold queer lives and creates drag characters embodying these memories. The character of each story is then documented with visual work in collaboration with another maker. SASAHARA PAST LIVES digs in the power of fantasy to connect fetish culture, queer experience, and myth, in the Club cHurch where the drag of SasaHara was born, thanks the House of Hopelezz.
SASAHARA PAST LIVES is a queerophantasmic storytelling project using fantasy aesthetics to uphold queer narratives through text and visual work. It is a series of collaborations between the Amsterdam-based writer and drag-transformer SasaHara (FR) and various makers of Amsterdam and beyond. It is a base of work to start imagining a queer saga written at the present tens, knitted of all the stories of the Past Lives.
For this first solo-show, the first five stories of the mythology were presented independently with various media. As each storytelling first existed with text and image, a decision was taken to present them in the format of comic-strips. Comics seemed the best way to bring together visual and textual storytelling, but the scope of fantasy was historically also largely explored in this format, anchoring the research of the Past Lives presentation in a familiar place. The comics were designed by the Amsterdam-based artist Sondi, who also had designed the 3D visual work for the story Inferno. (comics available in the image gallery)
The other explored media were relating to a research around the oral storytelling practice, which was the original way of transmission for myths and legends. Thus, a soundscape was designed by the Amsterdam-based artist jujulov3 for the story Down in the Abyss, which premiered on her radio show “d3vination” presented on the Berlin-based Cashmere radio. In the soundscape, the text is orally performed by SasaHara. It was then presented in SASAHARA PAST LIVES at Club ChUrch.
Eventually, the oral storytelling research was extended to the story PINK with the design of a soundscape in collaboration with Momo Conzen which was used to design the performance QUEERAGE. The work is an embodied performative storytelling of PINK. It tackles different layers of control experienced by queer bodies, a macro on the side of society, and a micro within our community or perhaps our own mind. In was performed by Patrick Schmatzer and SasaHara, the shibari design and production by Ramzart, the costume by Arthur Guilleminot and the video documentation by Rowena Buur.
Presenting this first solo-show at the Club ChUrch was a way to come back to the origin, as SasaHara was born at Club ChUrch. But it also allowed to connect fetish culture (often embodied by a gay cis-male population) to queerness through fantasy, building bridges between different communities thanks to the uniting power of myth making. The comics then remained for two months at Club ChUrch, invading its corners and bringing new stories to this space, already rich in adventures.
All photos by Stacey Yates.
Performance: Patrick Schmatzer, SasaHara
Shibari design and production: Ramzart
Soundscape: Momo Conzen
Costume design: Arthur Candio
Video filming, mounting and editing: Rowena Buur
QUEERAGE was made possible thanks to the support of the Club chUrch and the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst.