We see ACUD as an open space where people have the possibility to work on their art and present it. With No Shade we are trying to support female and non-binary DJs. The program is a combination of training sessions and parties. The last edition took place end of September.
As part as the new festival We Make Waves, the No Shade DJs will be performing again on Friday November 10th. We did a Q&A with Ace of Diamonds, one of the DJs participating in the program.
fave beverage is mezcal
fave thing about berlin are my friends that i grew up with
fave thing about the trainee program is the space, Acud itself. best place&best ppl!
how do you see your role as an artist in participating in politics or making political work?
The work I do merges ethnography with media and contemporary art as a practical research and manner of presentation to give a more practical purpose to anthropological research outside of the university. My underlying theoretical thought is to recontextualise dominating ideologies and challenge Western systems of thoughts, like dividing the world in binary oppositions for example, to create a framework in which existing power dynamics are re-evaluated. I’m interested in developing inclusive and interactive methods of knowledge production, that shift existing modes of representation. As I’m based in working through or about somebody other than myself, it is necessary to be critical of the way you represent other people in your work as well as to problematize what it means to create work ‘in the name’ or ‘for the sake of”. The interdisciplinary collaborations of anthropology with other domains thus also help to find new and other ways of perceiving and understanding selfhood and otherness, including their relation. The next project I’m doing end of November is participating in the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince and doing the research for my master’s thesis in anthropology there.
For women and non-binary people working in music, specifically DJs, what are ways to combat misogyny and build your community?
I’m realizing more and more the necessity to combat misogyny as I realize more and more how omnipresent it is. The music industry is a loud example, as you just have to look what attitudes are rewarded the most in the industry. The stuff I play can be very brutal lyrically and it’s important to be aware of what you play and where it comes from, but there are so many amazing female producers and singers, that it’s super fun to play their stuff and just support what they are releasing.
Generally, it makes me angry the degree to which misogyny is internalized in so many different domains. We are conditioned to always consider what men are thinking, so often women are holding back either because they think they can’t match sexist stereotypes understood as “standards” or because our actions are interpreted as waiting for the D, but actually all you are doing is having a good time. I like to dress up and wear sexy clothes and not so long ago a friend was asking me if I was not afraid of what men were thinking dressed in a tiny outfit. It is true that a lot of men will always look at you like it’s any of their business what you look like, but I don’t care what men are thinking about me and I don’t want to care. I enjoy the freedom of presenting myself the way I feel and nobody no matter what gender or skin colour should be forced to hold anything back from their own fabulousness.
So, because I grew up in Berlin, I’m already part of an open-minded community that I love and of course I want them to come to the events I’m playing. Still, I like to unite people from different backgrounds or ‘scenes’, which normally wouldn’t meet. With the DJs No Shade is training, it is happening already, which is great and for the beginning of next year, I am planning with friends to make an event. Each of us has a different, but overlapping musical focus. In this way, the goal is to have a diverse, respectful crowd and build an unpretentious space where for example women can just bounce their body without being afraid of what people might do or think. I think that’s also the most important way for me to build a community as a DJ, meaning the level of action on the dancefloor. A great vibe connects people. I want people to go home after a night and feel moved, have the feeling that they made an experience. While playing, I try to give nobody a second to chill and that you don’t want to miss a single beat, because it’s constantly challenging your booty to bounce.
In a nice vibe the interactions off the dancefloor will shape a lasting experience of the night as well and participate in building a sense of community.
In the end I want to mention the collective of No Shade I’m participating for sure in the combat of misogyny as well, because being in the collective means on the one hand for female and non-binary DJs to be more present in the club scene, but on the other hand it also means to develop a visual language and a representation to the outside that expresses the power of being non-binary or a woman without reducing it to genitals.