Scummy Scores: Solanas unsettled, 1967 – infinity

22 November 2017, 6pm
The University of Applied Arts Vienna

How might a history of art told through Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto allow us to think of the role of lesbian feminism in the production of queer visual culture? The infamous polemic in which Solanas outlined a program to do away with the male sex and eventually the whole of the human race, is a difficult text to locate in the accounts of liberatory politics. Considering the ways that artists have often returned to SCUM, this talk will explore how the manifesto continues to present a productively unsettling force for feminist art. Through a roll call of works produced since the early 1970s, including by Pauline Oliveros, Women Having Fun (Carole Roussopoulos and Delphine Seyrig), Laura Cottingham, Catherine Lord, Ridykeulous and Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, I will consider how artists have invested in the disruptive character of both the manifesto form and Solanas’s manifesto in particular. How do the disturbing rhythms and unsettling returns of Solanas’s polemic offer ways to rethink the aesthetic dimensions of politics and the political dimensions of aesthetics? How might a genealogy of art written through Solanas’s manifesto allow us to think of the always already queer dynamics of feminist visual culture?

Laura Guy is currently researching a book-length project exploring
the idea of a lesbian economy of cultural production. It focuses on
polemics, pornography and other illegitimate forms. She is a Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies at Glasgow School of Art and is part of the research project Cruising the Seventies: Unearthing Pre-HIV/AIDS Queer Cultures at the University of Edinburgh.

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