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Goethe-Institut Toronto

Queer as German Folk in Toronto
Queer as German Folk in Toronto | © Goethe-Institut Toronto/Toby Wang

​The Queer As German Folk Exhibition in Toronto took place from June 1 to June 23, 2019 at Stackt, a place for “curated discovery” and popup art community project, as well as at the Goethe-Institut itself. 

As part of a constantly changing "cultural lifestyle market", Stackt sees itself as an open space that both facilitates encounters and serves as a source of inspiration for its visitors through a wide variety of presentations.

An essential part of the presentation in Toronto was the close collaboration with The ArQuives, North America's largest gay and lesbian archive, which researched the queer history of Toronto on behalf of the Goethe-Institut, for example the traumatic Bathhouse Raids of 1981 (“our Stonewall,“ as one of the flyers from the time reads) or the internationally influential 1980s Canadian magazine Body Politic.

The exhibition makes sure to integrate and interweave Berlin, Toronto and New York references, showing how queer oppression and emancipation was “same same but different“ across continents.  With reference to the so-called Hanky code, a coded method of (in a correspondingly initiated environment) making known one's own sexual preferences, Canadian content was specially marked with orange handkerchiefs (for "anything and always").

Stackt Container Impressions Exhibition Queer As German Folk Toronto © Goethe-Institut Toronto/Toby Wang

The interrelationship spilled out of the exhibition space – a container at Toronto’s new creative pop-up community Stackt Market — and into the streets. „We will not hide our love away,“ was the slogan on the moveable windows, a beautifully poetic and empowered quote from a photo of a 1971  Ottawa protest sign. It corresponded with a similarly positive and feisty scene from a Berlin queer rally from 1979 that was installed as a public art work across the Stackt site.

And in the same spirit of spilling out into the street and the world, all exhibition content was given away on the last day.