Untimely Belongings: Queer Temporalities in the Wake of National Socialism

Simone Stirner


This article brings the discussion of queer temporalities to a field from which it has been strikingly absent: Remembrance after National Socialism. Taking a cue from Yael Bartana’s strategy of “transhistorical queering” in her 2021 piece Malka Germania, the study investigates the potential of queer temporalities for memory in the wake of National Socialism by focusing on two stylistically divergent works: Ulrike Ottinger’s film Freak Orlando (1981) that weaves together a network of stories set against frameworks of institutionalized violence and May Ayim’s poem “deutschland im herbst” (1992) that refracts the history of National Socialism through contemporary realities of racist violence in the 1990s, remembering injustices toward gays and lesbians along the way. In both the film and the poem, a temporally queer aesthetic destabilizes linear notions of remembrance that consider the past to be past, and challenges us to reimagine a form of memory in the wake of National Socialism that proceeds through practices of solidarity and through an active interrogation of the present. (SS)

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