Artist Talk by CASSILS

Artist Talk

Tuesday 1 October, 6pm.

Part of the Sexual Cultures Research Group series of public events in the School of English and Drama
Queen Mary University of London

The event is FREE to attend but booking is essential. All welcome.

The lecture takes place in ArtsOne Lecture Theatre, which is located in the ArtsOne Building in the Mile End Campus of Queen Mary University of London. The lecture will be followed by a wine reception with the artist.

Kindly supported by Wellcome Collection and Queen Mary. In association with the launch of Being Human, a new permanent exhibition of art about trust, identity and health at Wellcome Collection, London.

CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. Listed by the Huffington Post as “one of ten transgender artists who are changing the landscape of contemporary art,” Cassils has achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, and gay male aesthetics, Cassils forges a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performative purposes. It is with sweat, blood and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique around ideologies and histories. 

Caption: Cassils, Alchemized, 2017. 30 x 30 inches, Plexi Face Mount. Photo (c) Cassils with Robin Black


Artist Talk by Del LaGrace Volcano

Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to present an artist talk by Del LaGrace Volcano at Queen Mary University of London. Info below.0001

Lecture by Lisa Downing on Female Narcissism

The Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to announce a public lecture by Prof. Lisa Downing titled “How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways…. On Female Narcissism, a Problem in the Psy Sciences.”

Thursday 30 November 2017, 5.30-7pm.
ArtsTwo Film and Drama Studio, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS

All welcome. No bookings taken. FREE. Refreshments served.

Abstract. Throughout the history of the psy sciences, there has been very little theorisation of, or published clinical data on, female manifestations of excessive selfishness, self-regard, or self-absorption — i.e. those traits that are pathologised in medical discourse as “narcissism”. Accounts that do exist are often characterised by contradictions, paradoxes and traces of gender bias. In the foundational texts of psychoanalysis, for example, we have Freud’s formulation of the re-routing of “inappropriate” primary female auto-eroticism into a more “properly feminine” secondary narcissism via motherhood and the pride a woman takes in her children. In the American psychiatric tradition, it is notable that there is a lower incidence rate of female patients diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), characterised by grandiosity and an egoistic lack of empathy. Where instances of female NPD are discussed in the literature, it is usually in the context of the deleterious effects of female narcissism on the nurturing of children (echoing Freud’s preoccupation with adult women as mothers rather than as selves). Throughout examples that cross national, linguistic, and historical boundaries, psy discourses appear to refuse to recognise exaggerated manifestations of female self-regard. My contention in this paper is that the shortage of scholarly consideration of narcissism in women is a facet of a larger cultural phenomenon in which women’s relationship with the whole concept of self is imagined differently from that of men, and is problematised. The material in this paper is part of a book project I am undertaking which considers the cultural, political, philosophical, and psychological meanings of female selfishness in the modern period.

Lisa Downing is Professor of French Discourses of Sexuality at the University of Birmingham, and the author of Desiring the Dead: Necrophilia and Nineteenth-Century French Literature (2003), The Subject of Murder: Gender, Exceptionality, and the Modern Killer (2013), and Fuckology (with Iain Morland and Nikki Sullivan, 2014) among other books.

#QMSexCult @QMULsed

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Queer Use: A lecture by Sara Ahmed

The Sexual Cultures Research Group is pleased to announce our third event, a public lecture by Sara Ahmed.

Wednesday 17 May 2017, 6pm.
ArtsTwo Lecture Theatre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road E1 4NS

All welcome. No bookings taken. FREE. Refreshments served.

Sara Ahmed’s talk is entitled Queer Use:

The lecture draws from my current research into “the uses of use.” In this lecture I reflect on the gap between the intended function of an object and how an object is used as a gap with a queer potential. I do not simply affirm that potential, but offer instead an account of how institutional and sexual cultures are built to enable some uses more than others. Small acts of use are the building block of habit: use can build walls as well as worlds. To bring out the queerness of use requires a world-dismantling effort; to queer use is to make usage into a crisis.

Sara Ahmed is a feminist writer, scholar, and activist. She is the author of Living a Feminist Life, Willful Subjects, On Being Included, The Promise of Happiness, and Queer Phenomenology.

Ahmed poster

Lecture by David Getsy

Please join us for a public lecture by Professor David Getsy, the HSS Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Department of Drama at Queen Mary. It is the second event organised by Sexual Cultures Research Group

Title: ‘The Emotional Nature of the Number of Inches Between: Body Language, Sexuality, and Affectual Transfer in Scott Burton’s Behavior Tableaux of the 1970s’

26 April 2017, 6pm to 8pm
Arts Lecture Theatre, ArtsOne Building
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Campus, London E1 4NS

The lecture is FREE to attend. No booking. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

David Getsy is the Goldabelle McComb Finn Distinguished Professor of Art History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His books include Abstract Bodies: Sixties Sculpture in the Expanded Field of Gender (2015); Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965-1975 (2012); Rodin: Sex and the Making of Modern Sculpture (2010); and, most recently, the collection of artists’ writings, Queer, for the Whitechapel Gallery’s ‘Documents of Contemporary Art’ book series (2016). His current major projects focus on queer and genderqueer performance art in the 1970s.


Throughout the 1970s, the artist-critic Scott Burton developed a mode of performance art that was unique amongst his peers. Called the Behavior Tableaux, these works participated in debates about theater’s role in contemporary art and were developed as a critical response to Minimalist art.  Performed at such venues as the Whitney Museum, Documenta, and the Guggenheim, the Behavior Tableaux fused elements of sculpture, theater, dance, and painting.  They catalogued scenes of interpersonal power dynamics and presented exchanges of desire, dominance, aggression, shame, and submission.  Burton developed these works from his study of the cybernetic literature on body language as well as his participatory observation of coded queer non-verbal communication, whether that be street cruising or in gay bathhouses.  This lecture will track the trilogy of Behavior Tableaux Burton created between 1972 and 1980 and discuss the ways in which sexuality became crucial to this critical response to the art theory supporting Minimalist sculpture and to this major contribution to the development of performance art in the 1970s.  In particular, a central question will be how Burton’s work was designed to transfer affect from performer to audience by manipulating the situation of viewing these silent, hour-long, and slowly moving performances. These works demonstrate how queer experience and politics became central to the definitions of postminimalism and, in Burton’s longer history, to public art.

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Juliet Jacques: 13 March 2017

Please join us for a reading by Juliet Jacques from her recent book Trans: A Memoir, followed by a conversation with Dr. Sam McBean (QMUL SED) and questions.

13 March 2017, 6pm to 8pm
Arts Lecture Theatre, ArtsOne Building
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Campus
London E1 4NS

This is the first public event of the newly founded Sexual Cultures Research Group (SexCult).

It is FREE to attend. The event will be followed by a drinks reception.

Juliet Jacques has published two books: Rayner Heppenstall: A Critical Study (Dalkey Archive Press, 2007) and Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015). As well as contributing to several anthologies, her short fiction has appeared in Five Dials, Berfrois, 3:AM and elsewhere; her essays and journalism have featured in Granta, Sight & Sound, Wire, The Guardian and many other publications and websites. She lives in London.

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