When an event is named after one of Sense8’s most iconic taglines. you know it’s going to be anything but ordinary. Fan conventions encompass an all too familiar line up of activities and perks, but I Am Also A We Con hopes to change that by organizing an event that truly embodies the spirit of Sense8 and the connectedness the show has created through an otherwise commercial art form.
The brainchild of Sense8 fan and campaigner Lea and her best friend Kristina, I Am Also A We Con hopes to bring together like-minded Sensies from around the world for a one of a kind event that takes media related art conventions to the next level. Due to be held on November 1st and 2nd in Berlin’s Babylon Cinema, the event is a Sense8 event by the fans, for the fans, not only of Sense8 but of life-changing works of creativity as a whole. As Lea explains “Am Also A We Con is a non-profit 2-day event focusing on LGBTQ* representation in arts and media. There is no company behind it, just a handful of Sensies, people who are passionate about the Sense8 values. It is not a mere fan event, we won’t make money from it, we want people and artists to connect, to meet on a human level and spend 2 days celebrating the values of diversity, equality and love.”
If all of this seems too good to be true, consider the organizers and their intentions. As Sense8 fans from a small town in Germany, Lea and Kristina both admit to being inspired by what Sense8 has achieved in bringing the world together. “We got inspired by what art such as Lana Wachowski’s Sense8 can bring to the world, how it can broaden diversity, challenge people, represent and empower. We were also inspired by what the Sense8 community in specific has made possible so far.”
It will come as no surprise that both Lea and Kristina were not impressed with the manner in which most fan conventions are structured. “We do not agree with the profit aspect of other conventions, charging a lot of money on tickets and various extras and only allowing the artists and guests to come together by ‘buying’ their time. We thought the true spirit of Sense8 and this community is something different. So we wanted to design a broader event that is not just about taking pictures and getting autographs, but about experiencing art, sharing stories and coming together.”Sense8 fans will also rejoice that Berlin is the location for this two-day event as it is both a filming location for Sense8 as well as the home base of the show’s most popular character Wolfgang Bogdanow. “We felt Berlin would be an amazing place to hold a convention, to bring people of the same mindset together, since it’s a very open and versatile city.”
With some of Sense8’s most beloved cast members participating in the convention, the two days will encompass discussions, talks as well as interactions between fans and artists on a range of topics including the arts, diversity and connection.
The first day of the convention is set to focus on art and culture with talks by several artists including well-known Amsterdam artist Hilde Atalanta who will speak on her creative expressions and its role in shifting gender identities and promoting body positivity. The second day will see a panel discussion between Sense8 cast members Mumbi Maina (Zakia), Maximilienne Ewalt (Grace Caplan) and Michael X. Sommers (Bug) who have graciously signed up to be a part of I Am Also A We Con already. “They all agreed on coming and supporting this project cause they understand and appreciate the idea behind it. We are currently talking to more possible Sense8 guests, but it will all depend on whether fans can help make the event happen with their support” enthuses Lea who also extends an open invitation to “Anyone who is happy to share their experience with their art. Artists who are part of the LGBTQ* community or those whose work deals with it.”
Lea and Kristina feel passionately about what a convention the likes of I Am Also A We Con can inspire in not only the attendees but the world at large as Sense8 has set the standard for what a television series can accomplish in bringing diverse cultures together and eliminating any semblance of “otherness” through the celebration of our common humanity and love. “In a world full of dystopian novel, movies and TV shows, it is important to show people also how much better the world could be. Stories inspire people and they have a much bigger influence on how we see the people around us and ourselves “according to Lea. The LGBTQ community has been historically marginalized for this very lack of empathy and compassion. “Difference is the one thing we all have in common“ as Lana says and people should cherish empathy and not hate what they don’t understand so that we can get rid of stereotypes and discrimination” Lea adds.
Connecting people from different walks of life is also a core objective of the event and Lea and Kristina have had first-hand experience in how conventions can bridge the gap that exists beneath the surface. “It is important to us that this con connects people, allows them to stay in touch, maybe even build friendships. That’s a powerful and wonderful thing on a personal and global level and we need more of it.” The duo has also taken measures to ensure that fans attending the event make lasting connections. “We will integrate activities in our program to connect guests and to make sure that no one is there on their own. Anyone who buys a ticket will be invited to a special Facebook group where people can get in touch with other fans beforehand and maybe even arrange couch surfing opportunities in Berlin, make plans on how to spend their free time together during this November weekend.” Which can include but is not limited to touring the many Sense8 shooting locations (with the help of an exclusive I Am Also A We Con Sense8 guide map) scattered throughout the city.
As a convention organized by fans, I Am Also A We Con is a crowdfunded event and Lea and Kristina hopes art lovers and Sense8 fans worldwide can help make this event a possibility. “The most important part is our budget, so start by checking out our crowdfunding campaign, and choose a perk you like and help us make this happen! Note that the more money we can raise, the more guests we can invite since we need to take care of their travel and accommodation costs.” The crowdfunding initiative is set to end on the 6th of August by which time the organizers would need to raise the necessary funds. “You can donate any amount you want or pick one of our special perks (like a Con ticket, of course) while keeping in mind that tickets are ONLY available via the crowdfunding page! We have already received contributions from very lovely supporters who can’t attend the event but still support us financially cause they believe in the project”.
Last but not least, Lea and Kristina would like to invite fans to help “Make this happen as it can only happen if people help us. It’s more than a fan event, it’s about living and supporting the values that make another world, a world that Lana imagines. And if this is a success, we would love to do another Con highlighting another community, the possibilities are endless!”
Impossibilities and possibilities are terms all too familiar to Sense8 fans the world over and I Am Also A We Con will undoubtedly serve as a testament to how lives and the world can shift to a more inclusive space owing to the power of groundbreaking works of art such as Sense8.
To Contribute –