Virgin For Ever: An evening with Sylvère Lotringer

Virgin For Ever: An evening with Sylvère Lotringer

Sylvère Lotringer, still from Virgin For Ever (2016). Courtesy the artist.

Virgin For Ever: An evening with Sylvère Lotringer
November 13, 2016, 6pm

Join us on Sunday, November 13 at 6pm at e-flux for an evening with Sylvère Lotringer. The evening’s program will include a screening of selected films by Lotringer and friends, as well as a live reading from his recent book Mad Like Artaud (Univocal, 2015).

Sylvère Lotringer, cultural theorist and founder of Semiotext(e), is known for having brought French Theory and the Italian neo-Marxist wave to America in the 1980s and 2000s, and for his scholarly work on high modernist writers like Georges Bataille, Simone Weil, and Céline. What is less known is that, all along, Lotringer has also been making films.

His earlier films are first-hand explorations of sex, crime, and death in New York City. They are also an investigation of poet, writer, and dramatist Antonin Artaud’s life and legacy. The evening will feature a selection of these that have rarely been screened publicly: Too Sensitive to Touch directed in collaboration with South African filmmaker Michael Oblowitz; How To Shoot a Crime directed in collaboration with Chris Kraus, an American filmmaker, writer, co-editor at Semiotext(e), and Lotringer’s former wife; and Violent Femmes. The program will also feature Kraus’s film Foolproof Illusion, and premier Lotringer’s new film Virgin For Ever, showing to the public for the first time.

Also for the evening Lotringer, who wrote Overexposed: Treating Sexual Perversions in America (Pantheon Books, 1988), has invited American poet and playwright Ariana Reines and American actor and director Tony Torn to read a selection of his book Mad Like Artaud. Published in 2015 by Univocal, the book stages a series of confrontations with Antonin Artaud’s witnesses or “persecutors,” where the raw delirium at work is uncovered—even in the author himself.


Too Sensitive To Touch
Film, 30 minutes, 1981

What does sex mean to society?
A Lacanian rock-video documentary on sex in the 1950s, using archival footage of Sex Ed classes and of scientific, pharmaceutical, and social experiments.

Directed by Sylvère Lotringer and Michael Oblowitz.
Produced by Semiotext(e) for the Polysexuality issue.

Virgin For Ever
Video, 12 minutes, 2016

Antonin Artaud’s “body without organs” on the stark island of Inishmore (Aran Islands, Ireland).

Directed by Sylvère Lotringer.
With the voice of Jim Fletcher.

I Talked To God About Antonin Artaud
Live reading

Dr. Latrémolière, the psychiatrist who administered electroshock therapy on Antonin Artaud at the Rodez asylum, perversely interviews Artaud’s sister Mme Malaussena.

Selection from Lotringer’s book Mad Like Artaud (Univocal, 2015).
With Ariana Reines and Tony Torn.

Violent Femmes
Video, English and French with subtitles, 28 minutes, 1998

When Parisian dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet was invited to visit Lotringer’s loft on Front Street, she didn’t know that she would meet Mlle Victoire, her American counterpart, let alone that their encounter would be videotaped. Although the two did not speak the same language, they shared the same desires. Tales of blood and seduction initiate a deft ballet of words.

Directed by Sylvère Lotringer.

How To Shoot A Crime
Video, 30 minutes, 1987

This film explores three disparate types of violence overlapping and embedded in the cultural and urban fabric of New York City in the early 1980s. Crime scenes shot as part of police investigations by a videographer of the Brooklyn D.A. are intertwined with the verbal violence and enticement between two dominatrices – Terence Sellers and Mlle Victoire – at a time when BDSM is being introduced to NYC, while the corporate violence of real estate gentrification defaces downtown Manhattan.

Directed by Chris Kraus and Sylvère Lotringer.

Foolproof Illusion
Video, 17 minutes, 1986

You can’t get close to Antonin Artaud without becoming Antonin Artaud.

Foolproof Illusion brings together a number of  “downtown” people striving to be Artaud clones, and ultimately succeeding. Just because we don’t think we’re behind bars, doesn’t mean we’re not behind bars…

Directed by Chris Kraus and performed by Chris Kraus, Penny Arcade, David Rattray, Terence Sellers, and Sylvère Lotringer.


We look forward to seeing you on East Broadway. For more information, contact program [​at​]

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