Lecken Zine #1

Contributions to the rave collective’s community zine.

Editorial design, graphic design.

(photos by Melina Milz and Mohnish Ladge)

Lecken is an erogenous rave with a strong commitment to the dance floor — its mission: making Berlin’s queer rave spaces more inclusive and responsive to the needs of the oppressed, giving priority to the unpriveleged. This zine is a time capsule of a season halfway between cancellation and radicalization.

Filled with critical essays, pornographic sci-fi, tactics for queer survival, sexy illustrations, and beyond, “2020 Canceled” is a resource to hold the Lecken community over through these strange days, created with love by the collective, and our friends, collaborators, and co-conspirators. For the zine, I wrote and designed a Forest Slut Ritual. In addition, I designed the zine’s cover, a foldable resource on Harm Reduction, and several others spreads.

The suspension of nightlife, and cultural life more generally, has meant not only a loss of income and already tenuous material stability, but also the loss of group sociality and the pleasures of the collective body. Social distancing raised the question: what exactly is the fabric of queer community and solidarity made up of beyond the dancefloor and the darkroom? We realized how important it is that the connections we make in the club do not evaporate once we leave the afterparty, and that in order to extend, connect, check in, and show up for one another, there need to be more event formats, spaces, and structures outside the club around which we can live and flesh out our shared principles.

We also need more robust practices of everyday solidarity—more sober gatherings, more movement practices independent of large and expensive sound systems, more counseling spaces and services, more mutual-aid platforms for queers, more attention to and engagement with other movements and organizations in the city to better understand what is needed, where and how we can help, and who we can fight alongside with. This is a moment of urgency: for justice, for care and for activation, especially in this time when the world feels like it’s on pause, falling apart, and being spectacularly reborn, all at the same time.

2020 is not a lost year. It has given us more time to reflect, educate, exchange, and come together around issues we often have talked about in the club but maybe only rarely have had enough time to dedicate to. We’ve had longer and more intimate conversations with friends we tend to only see in clubs. We’ve spent more time outside, ventured deeper into abandoned Berlin, and looked closer at nature. In club culture we are used to thinking that pleasure lies in excess and hyper-stimulation but pleasure can also be simple and low-key. We might not be able to dance together for some time but we can still come together in other ways, to share knowledge and foster collaboration around issues that are urgent for the queer nightlife left: harm reduction and queer (mental) health; community building, accessibility, and intimacy; intersectional, anti-racist, transfeminist, decolonial, eco-socialist, and anti-/post-capitalist politics. If we are going to fight together, we must do more than dance together.