Friday, 7 December 2007

Dear Friends des Femmes,

We’re back.

This time the London Short Film Festival are our hosts (thank you Philip and Kate, you both rock!) and the ICA will be our venue. Ladies and Gentleman, girls and boys, Club Des Femmes is delighted to present…

Discipline & Anarchy: a Celebration of Kathy Acker

Discipline & Anarchy: a Club Des Femmes celebration of American experimental novelist, prose stylist, essayist, and sex-positive feminist, Kathy Acker. The world hasn't quite caught up with Acker. Her death ten years ago cut short a dazzling career of radical thought and aesthetic experimental adventure. A beat visionary, she put anarchic energy back into thought and writing.

For one day only, Club Des Femmes pays tribute with a rare screening of her scripted feature film Variety plus a night of films in the spirit of her pioneering work, accompanied by readings from her writing.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Love and peace

Sarah & Selina

12th January 2008 @ the London Short Film Festival

Institute Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Box Office: 020 7930 3647/ Switchboard: 020 7930 0493

Discipline & Anarchy: Programme

ICA, Screen 1, 4.00pm
Dir: Bette Gordon 1982 35mm 103mins
Described by the LA Times as 'a feminist Vertigo', Variety tells the sexually-charged tale of a woman's journey of self discovery. Controversial for its time, Acker's script upends feminist ideology by showing a woman who
finds self-expression through an interest in pornography. Bette Gordon's powerful film is helped along by an impressive array of talent. Nan Goldin acts, Tom DiCillo films, Spalding Gray makes obscene phone calls and John Lurie scores the film to give it its unique sensual appeal.

ICA, Screen 1, 8.30pm
Sex-positive: a night of film and fiction
Sit back and let Club Des Femmes take you on an Acker trip. Film in the spirit of Acker's writing will be accompanied by readings from her work by Ali Smith and Kathleen Bryson

Dir: Carolee Schneemann 1964-67, 25 mins
A ground-breaking silent film of collaged and painted sequences of lovemaking between Schneemann and her then partner, composer James Tenney.

Baby Doll
Dir: Tessa Hughes-Freeland 1982 5 mins
'A doc-portrait of two Go Go dancers, revealing their experience of how it is on their side of the dollars.' - T.H-F.

Random Acts of Intimacy
Dir: Clio Barnard 1998 15mins. Starring Isla Fisher and Sara Stockbridge.
Truth and fiction collude in a collage of romanticised and possibly fabricated memories of impulsive, passionate random acts of intimacy.

Dir Tessa Hughes-Freeland 1994 9 mins
The archetypal personification of female sexuality is joyously revised in this beautifully shot parody of Pan and his dancing Nymph.

Darling International
Dir Jennifer Reeves & MM Serra 1999 22 mins
A viscerally erotic sadomasochistic exploration of the sexual fantasies of a NY metal worker.


Kathy Acker

In the mid '70s Kathy Acker met artist Carolee Schneemann, a pioneer of work around the expressive female body. Schneemann had already made Fuses, a film of herself and a partner making love, and in 1975 she performed one of her most famous pieces, Interior Scroll, in which, standing naked, she pulled a 36-inch strip of paper from her vagina and read it aloud. Acker was still unpublished at the time, writing pamphlets and distributing them to a mailing list of a few hundred people, Schneemann among them, and in Schneemann Acker found a kindred spirit, someone else who used lived erotic experience as a territory of inquiry. In the '70s, such an inquiry (for women, at least) was thought trivial or obscene.

For twenty years, from Schneemann to Spice Girls, Acker questioned the politics of female desire and the territory of the body. She used her own physical being – spiky or bleach-blond hair, tattoos (before they were fashionable) – as a means of enquiry. She was the embodiment of a new fin de siècle woman, a mortal Tank Girl, a question mark on the landscape of cold war conservatism. Her heroines are adventurers, sexual pioneers surfing the landscape of literature and culture, negotiating the politics of power and desire with swashbuckling bravery. They struggle with dependence on two things they can't trust: language and love.

More like Genet than Nin, Acker wrote with punkish piracy, plagiarised texts and upset convention in an artful attempt to re-see the world and point out the fictive basis of culture and the unreliability of authority.

She was a true literary radical. We are only now, ten years after her untimely death, coming to terms with the exciting, avant-garde nature of her work.


my lonely tranny slug boy said...

Wow - excellent... this will be amazing! J'adore Club Des Femmes!

Kath said...

So glas I saw this in the nick of time.

It's very sad that Acker's work has been so quickly forgetten. thanks for putting it on the map again. I'll be there with my avant garde bubble des gummes.

Love and tweets,

Bird xxx