Steven Daniel Dunn on DO WE ACCEPT DECEPTION INSTEAD… H.H. on PUSSY ON A PEDESTAL H.H. on EROTICA AND PORN: Choose your… J on DO WE ACCEPT DECEPTION INSTEAD… Tom Britton on DO WE ACCEPT DECEPTION INSTEAD…
LOUISE BOURGEOIS: THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED
8TH MARCH – 27TH MAY
Protruding phallic shapes, a floating engorged abscess and decapitated heads bound together in ‘cell’. All staged in Freud’s chamber. Basically a psychoanalytic orgy. Literally so excited it’s palpable.
IRAQ-HOW, WHERE, FOR WHOM?
Hanaa’ Malallah & kennardphillipps
20TH APRIL – 8TH JUNE
Cutting and brilliant, a critical inspection of the occupation/invasion of Iraq. The artists “interrogate and subvert the powerful tools of modern mass media, posing questions about democracy and the representation of conflict, inviting us to become more rigorous and engaged spectators.” Wake up and take a look.
28TH MARCH – 17TH JUNE
Leading on from above, Wearing explores public persona and private lives. How do you present yourself to the world? How liberating is anonymity?
HIDDEN HEROES- THE GENIUS OF DESIGN
UNTIL 5TH JUNE
‘Could you be bothered to brew leaf tea five times a day or fish the beans out of your morning coffee? Hidden Heroes shines the spotlight on the overlooked inventions we couldn’t live without.’
PRIVATE LIVES: SARAH HOWE
26TH MARCH – 10TH MAY
Documenting women from the burlesque scene in New York in their private spaces, at home, after hours. Delicious voyeurism.
THE END OF INNOCENCE
20TH APRIL – 27TH MAY
A manipulated video reinterpretation of Francis Bacon’s Pope Innocent X. An ethereal image in a constant state of flux, Collishaw plays with pixels, messes with light. This work has ‘themes such as stifled sexual desire, brutal and perverse lust, the power of media imagery and the concept of divinity’
SIMON ARMITAGE, CAROL ANNE DUFFY, HELEN DUMMORE, SEAMUS HEANEY, MICHAEL LONGLEY CELEBRATING ENITHARMON PRESS
QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL
21ST MARCH 7:00PM
CELEBRATING A PUBLISHER THAT ‘HAS DEDICATEDLY AND BRILLIANTLY MADE A SUCCESS OF THAT SHARPLY ENDANGERED SPECIES, THE INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER’- MARINA WARNER
CHINA INSIDE OUT
FREE WORLD CENTRE
29TH MARCH 12:00AM
WHAT IS THE TRUE STORY OF CONTEMPORARY CHINESE LITERATURE? WHAT STORIES DO CHINESE WRITERS TELL ABOUT THEIR COUNTRY – AND WHAT STORIES ARE NOT TOLD?
ENGLISH PEN IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE LONDON BOOK FAIR
ENGLISH PEN LITERARY CAFE
HOSTING A RANGE OF EXCITING EVENTS WITH LEADING BRITISH AUTHORS, INCLUDING THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THIS YEAR’S ORANGE PRIZE SHORTLIST
TO BOOK CALL AMY ON 0207 324 2535 OR EMAIL AMY@ENGLISHPEN.ORG
BOOK OF THE MONTH:
By RUSSELL KANE
SIMON & SCHUSTER, APRIL 2012, £12.99
Russell Kane is the 21st century’s answer to the Renaissance Man. Having graduated with first class honours, he quickly became head of copy at a top advertising agency, before becoming the first comedian to win both the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award and the Barry Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – the two most prestigious prizes in comedy.
His debut novel is published this April and it brings with it a new and original literary voice.
Kane’s ribaldry narrative centres on Benjamin White. No ordinary man, he is blessed with an extraordinary gift: to understand humour at its deepest level. But, this gift quickly transpires as a curse, disabling him from ever experiencing laughter or even a smile. At the height of his profession as a comedy critic, he lacks human empathy and embodies resentment when he discovers a formula that enables him to construct the world’s most powerful joke. No ordinary joke. This one has the power to kill.
EAT YOUR FRIENDS
SIMON LEE GALLERY
2ND MARCH – 5TH APRIL
PV 1ST MARCH
2ND MARCH – 12TH APRIL
PV 1ST MARCH
ALL VISUAL ARTS
23RD MARCH- 21ST APRIL
A.A. GILL and TOM CRAIG
THE BIGGER PICTURE
5TH MARCH – 10TH MARCH
17TH FEB- 5TH APRIL
BY APPOINTMENT ONLY
This past week there’s been a lot of attention and discussion around the idea of gender, particularly on the topic of raising a gender neutral child.
This attention has spiralled from five year old Sasha Laxton, whose parents refused to disclose his sex in an effort to raise him as gender neutral and avoid stereotyping. What a grand attempt to free a child from a culture that insists gender is an expression of self.
Individual gender identification is not only on trend, it’s a theoretical development that could change the way we perform socially stylised actions of masculinity and femininity and it’s another step forward, changing the way we perceive gender.
In western society, from the day that you’re born, it is instantly assumed that your gender is synonymous with who you are. It’s tantamount to your sex and is considered an innate, biological reaction. From the second we yelp from the womb our sex is called out and the pink or blue paraphernalia swiftly follows. From the toys we played with as a child, to the mass media we gorged in our adolescence. This delineation of gender is in the films we watch and the fashions we adhere to.
MAN = HANDSOME, BRUTE, HUNK, BUTCH, STRONG, ACTIVE, POWER, DICK
WOMAN = ELEGANT, FRAGILE, BEAUTIFUL, PASSIVE, VAGINA, PINK, DEMURE, DOLL
It goes without saying that the avant garde, the feminists and the mavericks of this world have challenged these assumptions for years. Particularly great writers like Angela Carter, whose illuminating short stories in The Bloody Chamber provide an interesting case study for the assessment of gender as performative. Extracting the latent content from the fairy tales we read as children, she MIMICS, DISLOCATES and CREATES new ideas about The Masculine and The Feminine. Although criticised for never being able to fantasise Cinderella into bed with the fairy godmother, Carter uses the very tales we learned from as children and forces us to question our assumed knowledge and understanding of our own performance.
Gender is a role we play whilst standing on a stage: surrounded by garish mirrors that reflect the masculine male and the feminine female back onto us. Gender is a culturally inscribed spectacle and the idea that masculinity is a male trait and femininity a female one is being collapsed. This questioning and attack on the archetypal stereotypes of men and women provides space to consider the societal pressure for these irrefutable binaries of gender. Is this act by Sasha Laxton’s parents an act of kindness or a short fall into a world of psychological confusion and schoolyard bullying?
If we ingest the words of theorists like Judith Butler and Joan Riviere who view the body as a site for performativity, we scratch beneath the surface and start to uncover something new. We start to question, and cultural questioning is the apex for the beginning of change.
Is it a fantasy, or a fragment of your imagination? Look at yourself in the mirror. Do your movements and mannerisms mirror your inner soul, your deepest individualities –your very uniqueness? Or, are you reproducing, imitating these modes of being from the culture that surrounds and imposes on you.
With the likes of Andrej Pejic and gender subverting experimentation in the iconography of the counter culture, you must admit, there is something very interesting happening. So then we must consider that Sasha Laxton, aged 5, may well be one of the privileged minorities.
“The presumption of a binary gender system implicitly retains the belief in a mimetic relation of gender to sex whereby genders mirrors sex or is otherwise restricted by it” – Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity
“Women who wish for masculinity may put on a mask of womanliness to avert anxiety and the retribution feared from men” – Joan Riviere, Womanliness and Masquerade in Psychoanalysis and Female Sexuality
“The conception of womanliness as a mask, behind which man suspects some hidden danger, throws a little light on the enigma” – Joan Riviere, Womanliness and Masquerade in Psychoanalysis and Female Sexuality
“A women’s sexuality is more complex because a girl has to change her erotogenic zone and her object- both of which a boy retains. A girl has to both, transfer her love from one parent to another and relocate her locus of pleasure from the clitoris, or ‘small penis,’ to the vagina” – Sigmund Freud, Femininity in Psychoanalysis and Gender: An Introductory Reader
“It’s not the concept of rearing allegedly gender-neutral children that causes affront – it’s fear of those who have the courage (and liberty) not to conform” – Yvonne Roberts, Observer
“Gender is socially constructed and learned behaviour that society considers appropriate – a set of rules laid down to benefit males and keep females in our place” – Julie Bindel, Independent
GRANTA 118: EXIT STRATEGIES – THE LONDON LAUNCH
THE GALLERY AT FOYLES, 6.30 p.m.
8TH FEB, 7.00 p.m.
THE BOOK STOPS HERE
KATY DARBY, THE WHORES ASYLUM / OLIVIA LAING, TO THE RIVER / ELIZABETH DAY, SCISSORS, PAPER, STONE
THE ALLEY CAT, SOHO
13TH FEB, 8.00 p.m.
DOCKRILLS’S DAHL’S DELIGHTS
JOIN POET LAURA DOCKRILL TO EXPLORE ROALD DAHL’S DARING, GRUESOME AND HILARIOUS POETRY.
BOOK OF THE MONTH:
Angela Carter was one of the most vivid voices of the twentieth century: much studied, copied and adored. When she died at the age of fifty-one, she had published fifteen books of fiction and essays; outrage at her omission from the shortlists of any Booker Prize led to the foundation of the Orange Prize. February 2012 will be the twentieth anniversary of her death but no biographical work has yet appeared.
Through the medium of her postcards – small documents that are the emails of the twentieth century – Susannah Clapp evokes Angela Carter’s anarchic intelligence, her fierce politics, the richness of her language, her ribaldry, the great swoops of her imagination; she also sayS something about her life. Intimate, funny, unexpected, it will catch this unique artist on the wing.
TILL RABUS’S FORMS OF EVERYDAY
27TH JAN-23RD FEB
THE WAPPING PROJECT/BANKSIDE
3RD FEB- 31ST MARCH
1ST FEB- 13TH MAY
CHARACTER THROUGH DRAMA
YOUR BEST CHARACTERS ARE COMPLEX, THREE-DIMENSIONAL PEOPLE, BUT YOU CAN’T SHOW ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR PERSONALITIES AT ONCE
SOUTHBANK CENTRE CREATIVE WRITING SCHOOL
10TH JAN, 6.30PM
T.S. ELIOT PRIZE READINGS
SHORTLISTED POETS WILL READ FROM THEIR COLLECTIONS ON THE EVE OF THE JUDGE’S DECISION
ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
15TH JAN, 7PM
‘HA HA HA’ WITH LUCY PORTER: SPREAD THE WORD
COMEDY AND NETWORKING FOR WRITERS
THE COMEDY PUB
16TH JAN, 6.30PM
FEATURING IAN RANKIN AND ELLEKE BOEHMER
UNIVERSITY OF SUSSEX CAMPUS
WHITE CITY BOOK CLUB
TWENTY THOUSAND STREET UNDER THE SKY
FOYLES WESTFIELD WHITE CITY
24TH JAN, 7.30PM
BOOK OF THE MONTH:
CRAIG TAYLOR’S LONDONERS
HERE ARE THE VOICES OF LONDON – RICH AND POOR, NATIVE AND IMMIGRANT, WOMEN AND MEN.
FROM THE WOMAN WHO IS THE VOICE OF THE LONDON UNDERGROUND TO THE MAN WHO PLANTS THE TREES ALONG OXFORD STREET; FROM A PAKISTANI CURRENCY TRADER TO A GUARDSMAN AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE; FROM THE MARRIAGE REGISTRAR AT WESTMINSTER TOWN HALL TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE BIGGEST BETHNAL GREEN FUNERAL PARLOUR – TOGETHER, THESE VOICES AND MANY MORE PAINT A VIVID, EPIC AND WHOLLY FRESH PORTRAIT OF TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY LONDON.
YOU’RE ONLY YOUNG TWICE
9TH DEC-21ST JAN
THE POLITICAL GYMNASIUM
11 JAN-4TH FEB
FUTURE MAP 11
12TH JAN-5TH FEB
PASSIVE POLITICAL / 19/01/12 – 17/02/12
ROSS JONES IN THE PRESENCE OF WILLIAM HOGARTH
19 JAN-17TH FEB
CUT OUT & KEEP
Some of our best, and some of our worst. Images to repulse, confuse, warm the heart, shake your bones, inspire, disturb and empower. A contorted tapestry of femininity; objectified, killed softly, exposed, self-elevated, owned, worn and subverted. Another year ladies, another fresh dawn to embrace, another crisp January to own.