Are You There Kai? (2019)
Performance at Stockholm Trans Film Fest
In the performance Are You There Kai? I’m trying to have a conversation with Kai Gullmar (1905 - 1982) – one of Sweden’s most popular musicians in the 1930ies and 40ies. Composing over 500 songs, including hits like Swing it magistern, Jag har en liten melodi and Med dig i mina armar, Kai was indeed one of their time's biggest celebrities. They also composed music to several other musicians and to films.
Kai was assigned female at birth but always presented in what was considered to be male clothing and also took on different masculine stage names. The name that stuck was Kai Gullmar which they also used in their private life.
In the performance I try to talk to Kai (whose edited voice is comes from their last radio interview in 1981) We talk about music, identity and how they navigated in a time and society that had other understandings of gender than we have today.
Through misunderstandings and talking past each other the performances explores and encourages other ways of listening to and understanding history, gender and identity.