Oxygen Art Centre launches the second phase of an online youth arts education program entitled freezer cheese. Led by researcher and curator Hanss Lujan Torres, the freezer cheese: queerer times series presents weekly workshops and visiting speakers to explore alternative ways of thinking about time and the ever-changing present moment. Rooted in 2SQTBIPOC experiences, these events will engage with broader timescapes like pandemic time and colonial time and try to make sense of the “queerer” times we are all experiencing.

Using concepts from queer and affect theory as guiding frameworks, the workshops (the first one is March 10) will introduce participants to concepts of queer time, a post-modern model of temporality that positions the current understanding of time and progress as binding, normative constructs and imagines new and different ways of being. Participants will explore how creatives have depicted time and challenged its structures by looking at examples from contemporary art, poetry, and popular culture.

The accompanying speaker series will feature artists and writers, Kama La Mackerel, Léuli Eshrāghi, and Billy Ray Belcourt. They will offer readings of their work and discuss their relation to time and queerness. In conversation with the facilitator Hanss Lujan Torres, these events will emphasize anticolonial approaches and Indigenous understandings of time. 

“freezer cheese” is derived from the fated piece of cheese – dairy or otherwise – that sits safely in the freezer, awaiting the moment it is needed for nutrition, for comfort, for enjoyment. These workshops and speaker series consider what lessons can be pulled from the theories of queer temporality and ask how we can use these to navigate moments of unease, pause, and disorientation brought on by the pandemic while also evoking a sense of play and curiosity.

Interested participants are invited to register for the workshop via EventBrite. (Go to eventbrite.ca and search “freezer ceese”) A maximum of twelve (12) participants will be invited to attend each workshop. Priority will be given to 2SQTBIPOC youth (ages 15-30). No previous experience is necessary. All events are free and open to the public.

This project is generously supported by British Columbia Arts Council, Osprey Community Foundation, and Cowan’s Office Supplies Ltd.

Oxygen Art Centre