Artists Space Books & Talks
55 Walker Street
$5 Entrance Donation
Influenced by the writings of Michel Foucault on the history of sexuality, and reflecting the revolutionary queer activism of the Parisian movement Front Homosexuel D’Action Révolutionnaire, Race d’Ep! is a frank documentary charting the visibility and representation of gay culture.
Race d’Ep! caused scandal when it was released in France. The film was censored and classified as a pornographic film under the “X Law.” Roland Barthes, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Marguerite Duras, Simone de Beauvoir, Patrice Chéreau, and Cahiers du Cinéma, among others, signed a petition in defense of the film and opposing its persecution and censorship by the government. Michel Foucault wrote a letter to the Ministry of Culture on behalf of Race d’Ep!, stating that “this documentary is based on historical research whose seriousness and interest I had the chance to prove,” going on to observe, “it seems strange for a film about homosexuality to be penalized when it tries to remember the persecutions of which the Nazi regime has been responsible.”
Not screened in the US since its initial run in the early 1980s, Race d’Ep! is a pivotal work in the history of queer film and radicalism. This presentation revolves around a new translation overseen by writer Bruce Benderson, with the film screened with English subtitles for the first time. The event, with an introductory conversation between filmmaker Lionel Soukaz and Bruce Benderson, will also include a screening of IXE, Soukaz’s 1980 experimental film that responds to the censorship of the “X Law” with a visual and aural barrage of, in Soukaz’s words, “bodies in erection.”
This program forms part of a weekend symposium curated by Artists Space under the title Public Bodies, Private Parts. As an element of Artists Space’s curatorial programming partnership with Whitney Biennial 2012, this weekend of talks, discussions and screenings looks at representations of “hidden” biographies, particularly in relation to notions of “perversion.”