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    States of Desire: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination.

    ”Open Call for Videos in Celebration of Tom of Finland’s Centenary, (1920-2020).

    This open call is a collaboration between Casa de Duende and independent artistic collectives in the USA, Europe and Latin America. (List of additional presenting curatorial teams in formation). This call for video is open for any creative project that responds to Tom of Finland’s work and its impact on queer art and culture.

    Publication date of open call: June 15th, 2020

    Submissions accepted from June 15th, through July 15th 2020.

    DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF PROPOSALS: Midnight July 15th, 2020

    Receipt of results of submission acceptance: July 30th, 2020

    Videos accepted will be included in States of Desire: Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination as part of the 2020 Philadelphia Digital Fringe Festival Platform. A possible live showcase in the fall is planned to be determined by where we are with public gatherings as a result of the COVID Pandemic. All accepted contributors will be kept abreast of when the showcase video screenings will take place.

    There is a $5.00 dollar submission fee per video. Maximum 3. Please make payments through PayPal @ or through Venmo @David-Acosta-19.
    Awards for first, second and 3rd place will be awarded by an independent Juror.

    – Duration time of video: Under five minutes.
    – Format: MP4, AVI, Quicktime, MPEG.
    – A brief description of the work (200 words or less)
    – A short bio (200 words or less)
    – Include links to your web sites and all social media platforms (if available). i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Tumbler, and Face Book.
    – Attach video download link (include password if private.)


    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Finish artist, Tom of Finland (Touko Valio Laaksonen, 8 May 1920 – 7 November 1991.) Finland’s illustrations and homoerotic drawings of hypermasculinized men made a profound impact on gay male culture. The post WWII period that would define ideas of male beauty, masculinity, and sexual desire were in large part cultivated by Finlands’ figurative drawings. Pre-war depictions of gay men painted a passive, weak and unhappy caricature; Tom set forth to counter these notions by drawing strong, proud and masculine men liberated in their sexuality. His work on this centennial year is celebrated and recognized as central by visual culture historians and others considering the definitions and barriers between art and erotic art/pornography, and the movement of LGBTQ culture from the margins to the center of mainstream society.

    Finland’s work extended its influence to pornography, fashion, photography and most significantly, leather culture around the globe. But, controversy was no stranger to Tom of Finland. His depictions of uniformed men, included German Nazi soldiers, hypersexualized Black men and homoerotic content caught the attention of censors who objected to the explicitness of his work. Further complicating his legacy, the chiseled bodies and narrow scope of masculinity found in his work further reinforced impossible beauty standards.

    From whatever vantage point we view Tom of Finland’s place in our survey of Queer history, his legacy created a representation that inspired a disenfrancised community into a place of empowerment. With time and perspective, we applaud and critique Finland for the role he played in the visibility of Gay male sexuality, flaws and assets alike. It is for the courage and unapologetic nature of his and his contemporaries depictions of Queerness that we are able to develop into a more inclusive space of visibility and pride.

    The Call:

    We issue an international call for video shorts inspired b the many groundbreaking complexities within the work of Tom of Finland, a global gay cultural icon. Finland’s work has served to reveal and provoke greater ideals of queer beauty, liberated sexuality, joy and desire. We seek work that explores how these concepts (as presented in his work) have helped to define, both positively and negatively, the formation of a wide spectrum of Queer identities. We welcome an open range of work that creatively could explore sexual practice, queer relationships, fetish, leather culture, kink, fashion, pornography and beyond. We encourage work by a range of artists (LGBTQ and straight) that flirts with subversive ideas, celebrates, critiques and places Tom’s work in the context of past, present and future development of Queer sexualities, identities, communities and aesthetics.

    Please submit your entry through the Google form bellow.

    Videos submitted and “accepted” will form part of a video showcase with a date yet to be determined. This event/showcase is a not for profit event. All rights remain the sole property of the artists.

    NOTE: Acceptance of your work and agreement by you the artist(s) for its use gives us permission to reproduce, photograph, comment on and disseminate the work as part of the States of Desire; Thom of Finland in the Queer Imagination Video Showcase for promotional purposes only. We will, to the extent possible, protect your copyright of the material and seek your permission for any other use of the videos beyond its use for exhibition and promotion. Submission to the video exhibition States of Desire Tom of Finland in the Queer Imagination is an understanding that the curatorial collective is indemnified from any legal action not under our control.


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