What can we do when our struggles fail? Can marginalized, othered bodies from different political struggles learn from each other’s failures?

“Terrorist Superstars” starts at a point in time where the black liberation movement and the Palestinian liberation movement meet: Black Lives Matter and the Intifada of the Knives. Zigzagging through points of intersection and comparison between both movements, two iconic women who’ve been branded as terrorists and paid a price for failed participation in their struggles enter the frame: Assada Shakur and Leila Khaled. Between them emerges a third figure: queer, feminine and non-identitarian, embodying the multitude of positionalities of her predecessors and rejecting them at once.

The figures are strung together through queer-feminist performative tactics: from the lo-fi of trash- bags-and-plastic-clad outfits to bad vogueing and pop music. Those highlight non-conforming queer bodies performing otherness as a form of resistance and defiance to the norm. Cynicism and dark humor are used to dance on the rubble of failure. Grotesque gender expressions such as hyper-sexualized, exaggerated stereotypical tropes of femininity are used to to transgress beyond the male gaze and reclaim the sexualized female body as subverted form of power and vulnerability, transcending heteronormative functions. Can these queer forms of expression and resistance be applied to other political struggles? In our instance, our ‘terrorist superstars’ are marginalized persons of color involved in liberation struggles against forces much greater than they posses, and who use violence – whether premeditated or abrupt and desperate – to counteract institutional violence. Looking at the body as both a site for resistance, pain and memory, but also a weapon, can their position also be subverted? Can failure transcend into a powerful creative force?

With a strong conviction yet an anti-essentialist non-identitarian perspective, this performance draws on symbols from the rich history of several struggles so as to allow people of diverse marginalities an entry point.

we stick to our ground and we live it

we stick to our failure and we live it

we wipe our brow we put on lipstick

and life goes on

we hide our wrinkles and we live it

we wipe our tears and we live it

through disillusion we’re still here

and life goes on.

pictures by Marion Boriss, Tamir Lederberg, and Aviv Victor.

link to the full performance available upon request.

Directed by: Liad Hussein Kantorowicz

Performance: Liad Hussein Kantorowicz with Idan Sagiv Richter

Dramaturgy: Inka Paul

Costumes: Keren Korman

Original Music: Liad Hussein Kantorowicz and Kutner Utopico

Music Production: Kutner Utopico

Mentoring: Sasha Marianna Salzmann, Siegmar Sacharias, Maren Strack

Tutors: Rhys Martin and Boyan Manchev

Cultural+Political Advisory: Walid el Houri, Ahmed Isam Aldin

Photo Credits: Tamir Lederberg, Aviv Victor, Marion Borriss, Aviv Victor

Additional Support and Performance: Yaron Maim, Antoine