Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization


Miguel Ventura, How Shall I Love You, My New Little One? (clip), 2001.

July 7, 2021
Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Two: Gendering, Disgendering, Transgendering
July 7–20, 2021
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Join us on e-flux Video & Film for Gendering, Disgendering, Transgendering, the second part of the online film and discussion series programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz.

The works in this program—Maja Borg’s Man (2016), Sara Eliassen’s A Blank Slate (2014), Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley’s Fresh Acconci, (1992), Miguel Ventura’s How Shall I Love You, My New Little One? (2001), and John Greyson’s Fig Trees (2009)—address forms of gendering, disgendering, and transgendering from the hyper-coded cinematographic image, to subjective experience, radical imagination, and public space. 

Endocrine disruptors polluting our environment are altering reproduction and the sexual morphology of organisms, challenging heteronormative understandings of sexed biologies, and attesting to the fact that bodies are constituted in symbiosis with the environment through processes, relations, adaptations, metabolisms. This metamorphosis threatening fertility is triggering cultural nerves and anxieties about heteronormative essentialisms, again. One way queer theory has dealt with these essentialisms has been through dismantling the hermeneutics surrounding gender, sexuality, and identity, towards illegibility and the blurring or resignification of sexuality and binary roles. Trans theory, on the other hand, has sought to give back the specificity and difference of the gender/sex binary beyond the sovereign hierarchies of being commanded by God and prescribed by nature (McKenzie Wark). If queer theory is about contesting oppressive heteronormativity by creating peripheral forms of being, sexuality, and identities beyond the socially accepted norms, trans theory is about becomings, potential, desire, and transformation beyond the dominant metaphysical order. Queer and trans people have long been perceived as harbingers of civilizational collapse, while simultaneously pointing the way out of, or through it. However, as current junctions in theory and experience suggest, the two positions may be pursuing, or in need of pursuing, different paths. Will they meet at the exit? 

Elena Comay del Junco, Siobhan F. Guerrero Mc ManusJohn Paul Ricco, and Miguel Ventura discuss these issues within the framework of the films, and beyond.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization
Part Two: Gendering, Disgendering, Transgendering

Screening: Wednesday, July 7–Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Maja Borg, Man, 2016, 13 minutes 
Man is an expansion of gender and language, a journey of physical transformation through the wilderness of pregnancy echoed by the sole remaining recording of Virginia Woolf’s voice. The film is a truly experimental expression of form—hand-processed super 8mm film combined with watercolor-negative animation; timelapses of a pregnancy shot frame by frame, day by day; bookended by a series of self-portraits where the filmmaker is satirizing their own use of particular attire, generally read as masculine, becoming revelatory when posed in the context of the pregnant body. For a decade, Borg has been exploring the semantics of visual language in their work, experimenting with form to push content beyond the limits of established thought. They use the deconstruction of language to dismantle other systems—political, sexual, economic, or cultural. This is the second time they draw on the essay “Craftsmanship” (1937) by Virginia Woolf, this time to deconstruct gender identity during their own pregnancy.

Sara Eliassen, A Blank Slate, 2014, 28 minutes 
A character is passing time in a desolate beach town. Slowly, the loneliness and alienation she experiences in the foreign town makes her enter into an uncanny delusional realm, that blurs the memory of her own experiences with that of women protagonists from film history.

Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, Fresh Acconci, 1992, 45 minutes 
Following a conversation about the physical beauty of performance artists, Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy collaborated on Fresh Acconci, a restaging of early works by the New York–based artist Vito Acconci that explored questions of social interaction, the distinctions between public and private behavior, and the objectification of the human body. Using Hollywood film actors, Kelley and McCarthy set the video in a Spanish-style home in the Hollywood Hills, an area known as a locus of communal living and cult compounds in the 1960s and 1970s. Fresh Acconci collapses performance art with Hollywood movies and the private rituals of countercultural collectives, conflating multiple contemporary mythologies from otherwise unrelated sectors of the culture.

Miguel Ventura, How Shall I Love You, My New Little One?, 2001, 30 minutes 
How should I Love You, My New Little One? tells the story of a patient, the artist himself, who, with the help of his child therapist, hopes to overcome his weakness and transform his disease into something useful for the post-revolutionary society. The healing process involves eating thirty glyph-shaped cookies which will impregnate the patient with a new language.

John Greyson, Fig Trees, 2009, 104 minutes
In 1999, South African AIDS activist Zackie Achmat went on a treatment strike, refusing to take his pills until they were widely available to all South Africans. This symbolic act became a cause célèbre, helping build his group Treatment Action Campaign into a national movement. Yet, with each passing month, Zackie grew sicker. Fig Trees was also inspired by Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s opera Four Saints in Three Acts (1927).

Discussion: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 1pm EST 
Elena Comay del Junco, Siobhan F. Guerrero Mc Manus, John Paul Ricco, and Miguel Ventura, moderated by Irmgard Emmelhainz. Livestream and Q&A with audience.

About the series
In the pre-history of globalization, modernity was promoted by international postwar agencies that prescribed epistemologies, means of economic organization and production methods, and even a cultural sensibility to the so-called third-world countries. From a decolonial standpoint, modernity and colonialism are inextricable; indeed, they form the basis of our contemporary globalized socioeconomic and political systems: market-based predatory relationships. In order to normalize these toxic forms of interdependency and interrelationships that are leading to civilizational and environmental collapse, human and non-human inhabitants of the world are differentiated by means of signifiers, for instance, of alterity, class, gender, ethnic origin, and religion. These differentiations affect how we relate to each other and how we become subjects. This series gathers audiovisual works from Canada, Europe, North and South America, and Australia, from inside or on the margins of Western civilization. Beyond positing the question of whether decolonizing would mean undoing these differential categories and bringing justice to oppressed peoples, they provide pieces in a puzzle that could enable us to better see global capitalism not as a generalized, abstract whole, but as heterogeneous processes composed of beliefs, knowledges, relationships, daily practices, and the disassociation from our bodies and from social relationships that denigrate the reproduction of life in favor of production and consumption cycles. As such, they bring forth a pressing view on the contradictions and toxic interrelationships inherent to the subject of Western modernity, who has sought to feel at home anywhere on the globe, yet now finds itself increasingly alien to the basic means to reproduce life.

Me, You, and Everyone We Know: Interrelationality, Alterity, Globalization is a new online series of films and discussions programmed by Irmgard Emmelhainz for e-flux Video & Film. It will run in four thematic parts from June 23 through August 18, 2021. Each part will include a two-week group screening, and a live discussion. 

With films and videos by Ariela Aïsha Azoulay, Yael Bartana, Cooper Battersby and Emily Vey Duke, Ursula Biemannb.h. YaelJohn BockMaja BorgNoël Burch and Allan SekulaMiguel CalderónSara EliassenJohn GreysonClarisse HahnMike Kelley and Paul McCarthy, Nicholas ManganJuan Manuel Sepúlveda, and Miguel Ventura; and discussions with Franco “Bifo” BerardiAnita ChariElena Comay del JuncoSiobhan F. Guerrero Mc ManusJohn Paul RiccoMiguel VenturaSoyoung Yoon, and others to be announced. 

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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July 7, 2021

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