In Art, film, Gender Studies, LGBT, Literature, Performativity, Politics, Queer Theory on August 25, 2013 at 11:18 pm
(A still from David Wojnarowicz’s film, A Fire in My Belly)
by Kevin McLellan
Before the acronyms HIV and AIDS were established, there were these acronyms: the 4H disease (Haitians, homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and heroine users) and GRID (gay-related immune deficiency). Did this precursory nomenclature further contribute to the stigma for the gay community in the early 1980s? For those within the gay community not only diagnosed with what would be named HIV/AIDS? Were there other forces that divided the negative gay community, if you will, from the positive gay community? Was fear one of those forces?One from the other by no means directly addresses these substantial questions, but rather in its compression attempts to touch upon the underbelly of a post-breakup phone conversation between HIV+ Kris and HIV- Anthony in 1998, on the heels of breakthrough medicinal therapy. Yet the psychological and sociosexual impacts for those living with an HIV/AIDS diagnosis prior to 1996 had already been set into motion.
The title of this play, One from the other, correlates to something Kris says to Anthony, “It’s killing you. The alcohol and your relationship with your mother. I can’t determine one from the other.” The intention of this dialogue, and consequently the title, is by no means to demonize mothers/motherhood, but rather to use (this particular) mother as metaphor for HIV/AIDS and how the virus has control over the body like the mother has control over her son.
Kris mimics Anthony’s mother, “Why do you speak to me that way? You know that I’m not going to live for very much longer.” This language in conjunction with Kris’ claim, “You speak with her nearly every day and fall for her guilt” is not only an attempt to set the stage for Anthony and his compromised relationships (with his mother, an ex, and alcohol), but alternatively to fashion germane language for those living with HIV/AIDS in 1998 if they were to address the virus itself.
So, ultimately, this play is attempting to support the creation of a metaphorical conceit (a mother lode, if you will) in order to address directly or indirectly various kinds of division: within the gay and straight communities, between a positive and a negative gay man, and between sons and mothers.
One from the Other
A still from David Wojnarowicz’s film, A Fire in My Belly
Cast of Characters:
KRIS, a thirty-something gay man who is HIV+ and recently separated from Anthony.
ANTHONY, an alcoholic forty-something gay man still in love with Kris.
The play takes place in their respective apartments, opens with a phone conversation in progress, one evening in the year 1998. Read the rest of this entry »
In Art, film, Lacan, Masquerade, Performativity, Sex, Transgender, Transvestite Souls on August 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm
Brazilian filmmaker Diego Costa traces back (and forth) the sources of his femininity through provocative/perverse encounters with his Mother, Her sister, and Her drag doppelgängers in “Matricídio“. The film will be screened one night only, this Tuesday, August 27 at 9:30 p.m. at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City, as part of the NewFilmmakers series. Tickets are $6. “Matricídio” is at once an experimental cinematic love letter and letter of rupture, the Mother is here muse and monster, incorporated and exorcised from the son’s body. Watch the trailer above.
(Brazil, 2013, Dir. Diego Costa, 93 min., In Portuguese and French, with English subtitles)
Tuesday, August 27, at 9:30pm
Anthology Film Archives
32 Second Ave, New York, NY 10003
for more info:
In Art, Feminism, film, Freud, Gender Studies, LGBT, Performativity, Sex on August 20, 2013 at 9:29 pm
The fourth in our on-going series of articles on “The Screen”
In this BARBARISM production, we explore the visual/metaphorical dimensions of projection! As the literal screen gives rise to an aural example of cultural scapegoating, we witness a verbal soliloquy of everyday sexual humiliation-meets-cajolery of women using the symbol of the breast. But if the breast is synecdochically symbolic of woman, woman is itself symbolic of sex and mother but “‘men’ and ‘women’ in Wittig’s radical argument are political creations designed to give a biological mandate to social arrangements in which one group of human beings oppresses another. Relations among people are always constructed, and the question to be asked in not which ones are the most natural, but rather what interests are served by each construction” (Bersani, 1995, p. 38).
These symbols upon symbols create a vent for basic emotions that become perverted into one-sided disparagement. “Symbols precede us. Their internalization serves to construct us” (Corbett, 2009, p. 43). The woman/breast/sex/mother is a mere screen upon which people may project their feelings and fantasies, which are influenced by culturally-condoned misogyny which simply speaks to the fear of vulnerability/mother/sex as represented by women. When people are unable to connect with an other they stoop to Otherizing and projecting within a narcissistic realm, blinding themselves to the person in favor of their created symbol stand-in for the person.
When holistic personhood is not culturally valued, the interpersonal result of intrapsychic discomfort, people are disembodied into parts that evoke amorphously scary feelings which are metastasized into cruelty and misdirected onto the part representing the person.
But the breast doesn’t represent the person, the breast represents something in the observer’s mind which is subsequently perverted into being called the person.
Bersani, L. (1995). Homos. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Corbett, K. (2009). Boyhoods: Rethinking masculinities. New Haven & London: Yale University Press.
Read the rest of this entry »