By Cheyenne Tex
It was March 2020. Amelia Uzategui Bonilla, Javier-Stell Frésquez and randy estrellx reyes, amongst other people from a QTBIPOC artist collective called The Hive, had their first meeting about a space they wanted to create called Plataforma. Just a few years earlier, reyes had dreamt of such a space that would bring BIQTPOC folx together to celebrate one another’s voices--this was to be Plataforma 2020.
As a result of the pandemic that ensued after the March meeting, the original plans for Plataforma were put on hold. However, with an urge to manifest this project, reyes, Bonilla and Frésquez collaborated as the three curators of Plataforma 2020 and moved onward with their event plans shifting to an online platform. Created to center and uplift BIQTPOC artists, activists, healers, herbalists, thinkers, and movers, Plataforma 2020 held its inaugural event from Sept. 20 to Oct. 4 online.
“When I’m in a space where folx are really represented or when it’s strictly BIQTPOC folx, there's a different vibration that gets generated,” reyes said. “I wanted to begin to create a space that functioned as an archive for future generations but also to really celebrate the work we are all doing. I feel like whiteness [in dance festivals] is taking the forefront, the spotlight, and I’m not interested in that.”
The two weeks consisted of a variety of zoom-held workshops and grief parties, some for BIQTPOC and allies, and others for BIQTPOC only. Day one began with an opening ceremony open to the public. All participants were given space to introduce themselves. Everyone spoke briefly about the land they resided on, their identification, invited their ancestors into the space, and gave thanks to one another and the co-curators and space of Plataforma 2020.
Artist stefa marin alarcon closed the opening ceremony with a performance of improvisational vocal loops. stefa also read from their personal diary and texts from several authors including Octavia E. Butler and Assata Shakur-- this was the first time stefa had done a performance of this kind.
“...Sometimes space and the world doesn’t allow you to be [expansive], doesn’t give you that room,” stefa said, “So, for us to create together and really honor the space that we’re taking up together [is] so that we can expand with one another because we see that in each other...I felt very held, and I felt very seen by everyone there.”
The following days held space for herbal workshops, like one titled Herbal Medicine for Heart Support, facilitated by Bernice Dimas from Hood Herbalism, a herbal education project for BIPOC communities. Rest + Refuge: Movement Practice facilitated by Rosy Simas (Haudenosaunee, Seneca, Heron Clan) provided BIQTPOC a safe space for guided movement, breathing, hearing and seeing. Simas is the artistic director of Rosy Simas Danse, and her projects center decolonial physical movement.
The workshop titled Remembering to Dream / Soñando Pa' Sanar / Dream Symbolary facilitated by Chhoti Maa (aka Vreni M.C.) invited BIQTPOC to explore their active dreaming or explore their night vision more deeply in waking life and the spirit world. Chhoti Maa is a migrant, cultural producer, educator, and organizer based in Ohlone Territory (Oakland, California).
The curators had their first meeting to begin planning Plataforma 2020 at the end of July and did a bulk of the work in August for the Sept. deadline. Plataforma 2020 manifested this year in just around eight weeks from a dream from a few years ago. It was not only reyes’ dream but a collective dream.
“..[T]his [Plataforma] is a collective dream. And we’ve been collectively dreaming it for a long time. Which is where that sort of emotional, I would even call it like spiritual energy comes from,” Bonilla said. “Something can have a quick turn-around because we’ve been collectively dreaming it, so then we will it to happen.”
Plataforma is a Creative Capital, an organization that funds and supports artists, project. reyes said that there are plans for another Plataforma that will hopefully be held in person.