Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In absence of any questions or challenges to the exhibition statement of 'Feeling Gothicky' (which is repeatedly surprising as the week-after jolts forward), here is an interesting comparison to our show.

The writer concludes: "It is a powerful series, enough to stand on its own in any number of contexts, but here it serves also to confirm a suspicion that niggles from the start of this show: more than video or photograph or bronze or paper, is not the human body the preferred canvas of the truly devoted goth?"

Saturday, February 16, 2008

an exciting call for papers:

CFP: Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography (collection)
To members of 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
Call for Papers

"Embodied Politics in Visual Autobiography

"We invite contributions for a proposed collection of essays on visual autobiography, focusing on health, bodies, and embodied subjectivities. The collection will consider how cultural practices of self-narration and self portraiture image and imagine unruly bodies and, in so doing, respond to Patricia Zimmerman's call for "radical media democracies that animate contentious public spheres" (2000, p. xx).

"How are health, dis/ability, and the body theorized, materialized, and politicized in visual autobiographies, including forms such as photography, video art, graphic memoir, film, body art and performance, and digital media? We are particularly interested in the potential of visual autobiographies to:
-explore how bodies negotiate disciplinary regimes and technologies
-produce counterdiscursive manoeuvres and new representational spaces
-investigate how power/knowledge relations constitute embodiments
-provoke critical and ethical reflection

"We welcome contributions from academic- and arts-based researchers and practitioners. We encourage a wide range of critical perspectives: cultural studies, critical theory, disability studies, feminist studies, critical race studies, diaspora studies, queer studies, Aboriginal studies, globalization studies, literary studies, art history, music, media studies, theatre and performance studies. Analytic approaches could involve: textual analysis; histories, presents, and futures; practices and practitioners; and pedagogy.

"Possible topics:
bodies negotiating borders and boundaries
traded and disappeared bodies
trauma and testimony
memory and memorializing
care of the self
fatness and body size
body alterations and transformations

"Send a 300- to 500-word abstract, working title, and a brief bio, by email in a Word attachment, to Sarah Brophy (brophys@mcmaster.ca) and Janice Hladki(hladkij@mcmaster.ca) on or before May 15, 2008. Inquiries are also welcome. Final papers should range in length from 4000-8000 words.

"About the editors: Sarah Brophy is an Associate Professor in English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University. Janice Hladki is an Associate Professor in Theatre and Film Studies, McMaster University."

Sarah Brophy
Associate Professor
Department of English and Cultural Studies
McMaster University
Hamilton, Canada
L8S 4L9
905-525-9140 Ext. 22243

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Patti Smith* + Elaine May** + Fastwurms

(image source)
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**The first images I ever saw of Patti Smith were found during the most concentrated of my pre-internet library-and-TV-and-film-based archiving teen years - from some interview and performance footage from a Rock And Roll documentary series; a series of drawings in an old sketchbook describe the exact footage that I didn't see enough of - 1976 or 1977 Patti in backstage soft(er) voice, long features upon a narrow face, and dark cropped hair, talking about "being in New York"; the feeling was of a mythological gamine (very different from the manic/sickly avatars of the 1980s) in between many of the over-hyped icons of the series, her voice of a particular physical-inherent sensuality not tied to popular sounds or the plague of cuteness usually ascribed to female poet-punk (then and especially now, creating a desperation of the gaze towards Kembra Pfahler-like opposites). I could probably find the footage now on youtube, but it probably wouldn't feel the same as being forced to remember it from a TV series I didn't have personal access to at the time. There might be a kind of looking-collecting that is more like descriptions of Federico Fellini's attitude about casting, more of a collecting in a context of rushed or unfinished/limited encounter, than about bored infatuations without the kind of vague pain of having seen something you can’t stop thinking about.

**I remembered Elaine May this morning, particularly 1971 Elaine May as Henrietta Lowell, as her bad posture and bad sense of direction and social timing (combined with her lack of fashion sense) seemed exactly the right thing to think of to soften the tightly-wound pains of lack of sleep. So Henrietta Lowel is the patron saint (this morning) of post-insomnia mornings. Her low-toned, nasally accent would naturally soothe the coiled, snapping Hounds of Headache. It seems that this is also made of a combination of identifying 1960s live television (wigged physiognomy-acting and the staunch ceremony of standing around in rooms delivering lines) and 1970s filmic wardrobes that make me think of the dressing rooms from The Muppets (a kind of dutiful acknowledgement of fashion trends, but with the resulting appearance of pipe-cleaner-limbs and dull felt, and of the donated clothing used in shoestring improv small-town theater).

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ok, so what, and how, does painting relate to "the slapstick"? Here again, is the essay "Another Fine Mess", which details examples of the slapstick in art, film, TV, literature, etc. Particularly the difference between slapstick, the deadpan, and the carnivalesque...!

"Slapstick, in other words, is not to be confused with the category of the carnivalesque, by which hierarchies are overthrown and all is dissolved in a celebration of transgressive fun."