Who determines what is remembered and commemorated, and why? How can we commemorate something that is both in the past and a daily reality? In Take ‘Em Down, Simon(e) van Saarloos is inspired by the historically invisibilized lives of LGBT people and queers. They demonstrate the power of forgetting and wonder if and how it’s possible to live without a past. At the same time, Van Saarloos criticizes the way that a ‘white memory’—including their own—treats some stories as self-evident while other histories are erased. An afternoon of conversation, performance and an abundance of presence. hosted by Simon(e) van Saarloos and the Bureau with Megan Fernandes, Waqia Abdul-Kareem, and a video contribution by Claudia Rankine.
“I love the expansive nature of ways of thinking about commemoration in Take ’Em Down; the role of physicaland imaginative space. I also love that the essayistic form is informed by the process of adaptability, informed by Simon(e) van Saarloos’ childhood history, and that van Saarloos reflects the ability as a writer to know the limits of their own imagination. The notion of stumbling stones implies being tripped up and so becomes both commemorative and process-defining. There is so much to say and love about this book!” — Claudia Rankine, author of Citizen: An American Lyric
“The scholarship that excites me the most is not only well- reasoned and accessible, but also synthesizes ideas that take multiple positionalities into account, and takes the courage to be outspoken and revolutionary. In Take ’Em Down, Simon(e) van Saarloos does all those things, incisively. It partakes of the act of radical allyship amongst the marginalized. A lovely book.” —Nalo Hopkinson, author, The Salt Roads
“Amidst a global pandemic that has fundamentally changed our world, along with Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Topple Monuments Movements and ongoing struggles for LGBTQIA liberation, Simon(e) van Saarloos’ Take ‘Em Down asks us to reenvision monuments and acts of commemoration. They also champion forms of Queer forgetting as acts of resistance. They call upon the work of some of the greatest thinkers, scholars and writers Arendt, Orwell, Halberstam, Rankine, Moten, Hartman and more to raise critical issues around memory, mourning and social justice. In this text Saarloos joins their ranks in creating important new visions and challenges for our world. It’s a text demanding to be contemplated and shared widely.” – Pamela Sneed, author of Funeral Diva, City Lights, 2020
Take ‘Em Down. Scattered Monuments and Queer Forgetting includes a foreword by Pamela Sneed and is published by Publication Studio.
Copies of Take ‘Em Down will soon be available on the Bureau’s online store, and will be available for purchase at the event.
Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!
This event will take place in person at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, on the second floor (room 210) of The LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., NYC, 10011.
Registration is not required. Seating is first come, first served.
Also live-streaming on the Bureau’s YouTube channel
Suggested donation $10 to benefit the Bureau’s work.
All are welcome to attend, with or without donation.
We will pass a bag for donations at the start of the event, but we can also take credit card donations at the register.
In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
If you have any symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the days leading up to the event, we ask you to please stay home.
Please note that masks are required at all times inside The LGBT Community Center, where the Bureau is located.
Waqia Abdul-Kareem is a Brooklyn-based multimedia artist and interdisciplinary scholar. They hold an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies from Pratt Institute and are pursuing a Ph.D. in American Studies at New York University. Their academic research considers the historical-ecological entanglement between blackness and the more-than-human in the South Carolina Lowcountry region. Relatedly, their art practice employs archival research, sound/music, video, performance, and storytelling. They have exhibited work at the Hirshhorn Museum, Abrons Art Center, Movement Research, Dixon Place, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. Before their academic studies, they worked as an art educator at the Museum of Modern Art.
Megan Fernandes is a writer living in New York City. Fernandes has published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Boston Review, Rattle, PANK, The Common, Guernica, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among others. Her most recent book of poetry, Good Boys, was a finalist for the Saturnalia Poetry Prize, the Kundiman Poetry Prize, and was published with Tin House Books in 2020. Fernandes is an Associate Professor of English and the Writer-in-Residence at Lafayette College where she teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing, and critical theory. She is a Yaddo fellow and holds a PhD in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University. In 2021, she was a book reviewer for the Poetry Foundation. Her forthcoming poetry collection, I Do Everything I’m Told, will also be published by Tin House Books in summer 2023.
Simon(e) van Saarloos is the author of four books in Dutch, including a novel and an ethnographic court report about the “discrimination trial” of Geert Wilders. Two of their books were translated into English: Playing Monogamy (Publication Studio, 2019) and most recently Take ‘Em Down. Scattered Monuments and Queer Forgetting (Publication Studio, 2022). They are currently working on Against Ageism. A Queer Manifesto (Emily Carr University Press) and a theatre play about abortion for Ulrike Quade Company, premiering April 2023. Van Saarloos also work as an artist and curator. Their most recent projects include Cruising Gezi Park (with Kübra Uzun), the spread of a mo(nu)ment, and Through the Window an ongoing queer solidarity project between Turkey and the Netherlands, aimed to circulate funds among queer artists.They have participated in artist residencies such as the KAVLI Institute for Nanosciences, Deltaworkers New Orleans and Be Mobile Create Together at IKSV in Istanbul. Together with Vincent van Velsen, Van Saarloos curated the ABUNDANCE exhibition, (“We must bring about the end of the world as we know it” – Denise Ferreira da Silva) at Het HEM, Amsterdam in 2022. Upcoming projects include their role as a curator for International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam (IDFA) and Studium Generale Rietveld Academy. They currently pursue a PhD in Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Author photo: Isabelle Janssen