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Tasteful tea-time eats itself

Queer performance-art collective NowMomentNow have organised a classic high tea with a twist for your delectation. Forget your manners and indulge in a satisfying mix of Foodgasm, photography and live performance.

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From left to right: Liz Rosenfeld, Sam Icklow, Imogen Heath. Photo by Alexa Vachon

The playful minds behind NowMomentNow are serving up some queer manners in the form of a classic high tea, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to dress with modesty – it is NowMomentNow after all. The Sy&M Gallery on Mainzer Straße will be taken over for the afternoon of Sunday, August 26 for Art Eats Brunch Does High Tea, with drag-hostess Mysti guiding your curiosity towards the delectable delights of Foodgasm, the fierce photo prints of photographer Alexa Vachon and the downright dirty performances from Black Cracker, Justin Cusack, Chris Williams and Olof Dreijer (The Knife).

The video and performance-art collective NowMomentNow began when its three founding members – Australians Imogen Heath and Sam Icklow, and New Yorker Liz Rosenfeld – met in 2010 over a shared love for, among many things, filmmaking, food and being just a wee bit freaky – in the most positive sense, of course. Insightful, articulate and welcoming, they are eager to share their concept with fellow artists and novices alike.

Centring their work on the apparent malleability of time and space, elements of the past, present and future are cheekily tossed around – resulting in fantastical narratives almost from an alternate universe. Structures and activities pop up where least expected, whether it be setting up a kitchen and using food as a form of performance art, or putting an alternative history depicting Frida Kahlo and Weimar-era cabaret performer Anita Berber in a love-affair on film.

The high tea concept has its roots in an annual fund-raising brunch that last year evolved into Art Eats Brunch – a stylish meal punctuated by exhibitions and performances, including an impromptu concert by Brooklyn-based synth-pop group Light Asylum.

Brunch is always a winner in Berlin, but this event gave it a whole new meaning. Since then NowMomentNow has held more exhibitions and events with a similar theme. As part of HAU’s queer-centred Camp/Anti-Camp, the collective organised Foodgasm, creating tasty homemade dishes with a risqué twist – think cakes (and more) with a side of spankings. Though the performances are strongly rooted in queer communities, explains Rosenfeld, the subject matter often extends beyond the expression of sexuality.

In this sense, NowMomentNow applies queer philosophy – existing outside normative social structures – to the ideas within their project. Compared to most other cities of this size, Rosenfeld says, Berlin presents a far more welcoming environment to this sort of applied queerness, and one can find more people who are willing to truly work outside the box. It’s because of this that NowMomentNow have been able to grow from a three-person collective into a multidisciplinary community, with filmmakers, photographers, musicians and other artists supporting each other in their projects, and getting a fun, sexy, good bellyful along the way!

Art Eats Brunch Does High Tea, August 26, 12-22:00 | S&yM Gallery