Book Launch: Quaestiones Perversas, Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn

Book Launch: Quaestiones Perversas, Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn

The Original “Lochgelly,” tawse or punishment strap of hide, made by John J. Dick Cowdenbeath, Scotland, c. 1972. Collection: Museum of Childhood, Victoria and Albert Musuem, London.

Book Launch: Quaestiones Perversas, Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn
June 3, 2017, 6pm
311 East Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Join us at e-flux on Saturday, June 3 at 6pm to celebrate the launch of Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn’s recent publication Quaestiones Perversas, published by Pioneer Works Press.

Quaestiones Perversas—an obscene form of the Graduate Record Examination—aims to gum the data production and collection of standardized testing as well as question the ideological underpinnings behind it. Compiled by Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn, this book gathers together unruly record examinations (Beautiful Economy; The Reproductive; F|Slash|F), a traumatizing listening lab (Doggy… Doggy), and a physical fitness test that maims more than it measures. The answer keys are an intervention/irruption of poesis in the field of systematicity or the lust for order: the position of the father and the controlling language of the state. The book undoes the benign voice of the test, awakens the reader to the history of violence embedded in the form, and activates it as a site for aesthetic expression.

Beatriz E. Balanta and Mary Walling Blackburn, Quaestiones Perversas
Series: Groundworks from Pioneer Works Press
128 Pages
Softcover, 4.7 x 0.3 x 7.2 inches
ISBN-10: 1945711035
ISBN-13: 978-1945711039

Beatriz Balanta is, like most humans, a colonial interloper who carries a rusty umbrella. She was born in Puerto Tejada (Cauca, Colombia) and now roams the halls of academia. She has lost the sense of smell and has learnt to live without it. She was bred on sugar cane but doesn’t chew it. As a scholar, she is specially interested in the ruses, discourses, mirrorings, and renderings of photography. Balanta is currently writing a critical appraisal of the process by which people of African descent became photogenic objects and literary subjects in Brazil during the second half of the nineteenth century.

She is the author of “Tropical Dreams: Promoting Brazil in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Media,” “The Colonial History of Alien Abduction/Abduction = Lure + Entrapment + Displacement,” and “Especímenes antropométricos y curiosidades pintorescas: la orquestación fotográfica del cuerpo “negro” (Brasil circa 1865).

Mary Walling Blackburn (born in Orange, California)  works on the Eastern US seaboard. In 2017, the work handles and is handled by optics (the lazy eye and the glass eye), diagrams (contaminated logics), and Miscreant Class (politics); all is amputated/shaped by the Capitalocene.

Walling Blackburn is the founder of the Anhoek School, a pedagogical experiment, and WMYN, a pirate feminist radio station. Writing has been featured in publications including Afterall; BOMB; Cabinet; e-flux journal; Grafter’s Quarterly; Pastelegram; Tamawuj, the online publishing platform of the Sharjah Biennial 13; and Women and Performance.

Group exhibitions and events include Beta-Local, San Juan, Puerto Rico; New Museum, NY; Art in General, NY;  Sculpture Center, NY; Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY and Centre Pompidou, Paris and 1a Space, Kowloon, Hong Kong; Sutton Gallery: Project Space, Melbourne, Australia; the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC  as part of Neighborhood Public Radio live from Whitney Biennial 2008 and Trade School 2011. Solo exhibitions include Momenta Art at Bravin Lee, NY, NY; Ulrich Museum, Wichita, Kansas; Sala Diaz, San Antonio, TX; University Arts Gallery, University of California San Diego; testsite, Austin, TX; and Southern Exposure, San Francisco.

About Pioneer Works Press
Printed objects are both art-form and platform to archive and disseminate ideas and collaborations. Pioneer Works Press produces an annual magazine, artist books, pamphlets, exhibition catalogs, and other projects. Our magazine, Intercourse, acts as an archive of the collaborations and programming at Pioneer Works and features articles on art, science and education, with a preference for the arcane, incongruous, deplorable, exotic, and essential. Our pocket series, Groundworks, is devoted to statements and propositions that elude categorization and seek to broaden the parameters of their subjects. Groundworks feature unique volumes of essays, poetry, pedagogy, theory, conversations, lectures, and experiments in hybridization. MIMO is a pamphlet series that activates the unique possibilities and process of Pioneer Works GR3750 Risograph machine with small runs of pamphlets that are hand assembled by the authors and artists.

For more information, contact

Mary Walling Blackburn was born in Orange, California. Artist and writer Walling Blackburn’s work engages a wide spectrum of materials that probe and intensify the historic, ecological, and class-born brutalities of North American life. Publications include Quaestiones Perversas (Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, 2017) co-written with Beatriz E. Balanta, and MAGIC FECES or cream psychosis, a forthcoming book of collected writings (e-flux, 202+).

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