Reena Katz aka Radiodress considers bodies “sites of knowledge, and communication as a social practice.” Drawing inspiration from John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous “Bed-In” protest against the Vietnam War, Katz established a queer bed-in project, Thunder & Flowers: Queer Auralities to promote discussions about gender equality, homonational intimacies and resistances, two-spirit philosophy, and international social justice – particularly revolving around the Israel-Palestine conflict.
With Thunder & Flowers, Katz aims to dissolve the borders between performer and audience. In effect, she transforms her audience from a passive entity to an active one, allowing them to shape the progression of the bed-in with their own unique thoughts and opinions. This idea of inclusivity ties into Katz’s social and political beliefs, and resonates through the rest of her work.
Every month on the night of the New Moon, Katz broadcasts her radio show Republic of Love: Art, Cultural Resistance and Sacred Mysticism. Aired online and, more locally through an FM transmitter, the show features “reviews, panels, readings and music centered on radical culture” within Canada and around the world. Republic of Love engages in conversations that address the underrepresented, such as the disabled, LGBTQ, and racial minority communities.
Overall, Katz wants to change the modern political, social, and economic climate through a more inclusive and community-based approach. She suggests the alternative of New Work, a radical shift in our current capitalist ideology. The New Economy is one that aims to eradicate poverty and promote individual spirituality by altering what it means to work. Instead of the current approach of working 40 hours a week for profit-driven purposes, New Work divides those 40 hours into 10 hours for community production, 10 hours for local industries, and reserves the remainder for passion-driven or spiritual work.
The fact that Katz provides specific solutions to the problems she exposes separates her from other activists who merely expose problems without providing an alternative reality – such as the Occupy Wall Street activists. With the Israel-Palestine conflict, Katz offers a solution of Palestinian sovereignty. With the economy, Katz offers the above solution of the New Economy. This allows her ideas to resonate with the mainstream, and is a strategy that should be imitated for any serious social justice activist.