RCA, Gorvey Lecture Theatre, 30 April 2019

RCA | SoAH Research Presents: Documents | Speaker: Tom McCarthy

‘The Psychotic Document’

What if a document functioned not as a solid anchor serving to fix a reality but, on the contrary, as a lure, a mirage, vortex into an abyssal space in which reality itself unravels? Novelist Tom McCarthy considers the function of the photographic document in Julio Cortazar’s 1959 story ‘The Devil’s Drool’ and Michelangelo Antonioni’s celebrated adaptation of it in his 1966 film ‘Blow-Up’. Olivier Richon responds.

Tom McCarthy (Stirling, 1969) is a novelist whose work has been translated into more than twenty languages. His first novel, Remainder, won the 2008 Believer Book Award and was recently adapted for the cinema. His third, C, was a 2010 Booker Prize finalist, as was his fourth, Satin Island, in 2015. McCarthy is also author of the study Tintin and the Secret of Literature, and of the essay collection Typewriters, Bombs, Jellyfish. He contributes regularly to publications such as The New York Times, The London Review of Books, Harper’s and Artforum. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction by Yale University. He is currently a Fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme.

Schedule

  • Tue 25 October 2022

    Art Night / performance commission by Tai Shani at Fabric, London

    Art Night and the Museum of London are pleased to announce the presentation of a new performance commission by Tai Shani at Fabric, London this Autumn, at 8pm on 25th October. The performance will take the form of a chamber play and is Shani’s first major performance project since DC: Semiramis for which she was nominated and collectively won the Turner Prize in 2019. It will be one of her most ambitious works to date. The collaboration is a precursor to Art Night’s transition to a national, biennial contemporary art festival, with the first new model festival planned for 2023 and to be announced in the Autumn. This work by Tai Shani will be re-staged for the 2023 festival.

    The play will premiere at London’s iconic nightclub Fabric, adjacent to West Smithfield, the Museum of London’s soon-to-be new home. The special “one-night only” show will be broadcast live on digital channels to enable access for a global audience with the assistance of media partner This is Tomorrow. My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) draws upon Smithfield’s history as one of London’s earliest execution sites and oscillates between somatic histories of political evil and love as an emancipatory power.

    The collaboration also celebrates the Museum of London’s impending relocation to West Smithfield and follows the launch of the Museum of London Docklands’ major exhibition Executions, which traces the history of public executions from the 12th to the 19th century.

    My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be. (Down, skin, pelt, vellum, alert tangled roots, subcutaneous flesh, subterranean blind life) is inspired by various sources; classic works of literature including Destroy, She Said by Marguerite Duras, the writing of scholars including Jackie Wang and works by filmmakers such as Jacques Rivette. Shani’s commission is a poetic meditation on various historical resistance movements and groups, the spiritual dimensions of anti-supremacism, intersectional queer feminism, communism and revolutionary thinking to recognise the emancipatory power of love and pleasure as a catalyst for radical change.

    Typical of Shani’s practice, My bodily remains, your bodily remains, and all the bodily remains that ever were, and ever will be will deploy a skillful interplay of dialogue and narration. Shani will use recurring moods and motifs to explore eroticism, dark powers, mystical experiences, feminist theory and the theme of Revolution – embodied in this performance as a ghost.

    The play will feature an original live score composed by Shani’s long term collaborator Maxwell Sterling and Richard Fearless (Death in Vegas) alongside digital animations by Adam Sinclair also Shani’s long term collaborator. The play will also feature jewellery and set design by Shani.

    The commission is accompanied by a dedicated creative engagement programme developed in collaboration with All Change led by arts educator and creative producer Dhiyandra Natalegawa. The creative engagement programme will consist of a series of participant-led workshops and creative outcomes, shaped around the key themes and creative approaches in Shani’s work. The project is part of All Change’s B Creative programme: an arts activism programme for young women by young women, working with inspiring artists.