Pearlshower Ceremonial Event

by: Katipa Apai and krёlex zentre

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Katipa Apai and krёlex zentre, Pearlshower Ceremonial Event, 2017, 11’40’’.

This is a video document of a clandestine queer ceremony that took place in Almaty on the premises of a self-organized parainstitution called Katipa Apai Temple of Arts. The venue was a rooftop of a nine storey residential building that was squatted by Katipa Apai and her friends and functioned as an improvised community center during 2012—2022. The Ceremonial Event was a unique collaborative endeavor initiated by krelex zentre in cooperation with Katipa and Mandy Romero, a creative artist and transgender provocateur working across continents and round the world. The gathering was timed to coincide with the Persieds meteor shower (the so called ‘pearlshower’) — a cosmic event which symbolized carnal fertilizing bonds between Earth and Heaven — and was subtitled as Cosmic Wedding of Everyone and Everyone Else. In the city lacking safe spaces for gender non-conforming people, a rooftop curated by Katipa Apai served as a dynamic albeit semi-secret community center for a small queer artistic circle in Almaty. The Ceremonial Event was designed and implemented as a pseudo-traditional ritual made by those who felt excluded from any kind of traditional culture.

Katipa Apai aka Katya Nikonorova was born in 1985 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. She graduated from the Kazakh State Academy of Architecture and Civil Engineering as an architect and urban planner. She also studied at the School of New Media in Soros Center for Contemporary Art, Almaty, and in the summer school “Queer, Fantasy, Art” at STAB, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Since 2003 she is active as a multi-disciplinary artist and takes part in numerous exhibitions in Kazakhstan and abroad, including a series of biennial events titled “Biennale of Katya Nikonorova” (2012—2022).

Krёlex zentre is a paranormal institution (parastitution) first made appearance in 2012 between Almaty and Bishkek. A nomadic art project in the genre of fake institutions, it builds on cultural traditions of inter-mixed earthly diasporas, their inclusive aesthetics and queer cosmo-politics. Working under the guise of contemporary art, krёlex zentre is engaged in xenographic study of the nascent life forms emerging in translocations, where cultural production fields are weak and subject to significant interference. It acts on behalf of imaginary communities that are not there yet, being overlooked by official records and existing only partially, in the borderlands between the real and the imaginary.