Lucy Beech “Warm Decembers” at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna

Warm Decembers by artist filmmaker Lucy Beech, is part of a series of works that explore relationships between waste, creativity and transformation. The film reimagines a poetic verse novel written by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (1950-2009), which took nine years to complete, and was described as recording a “crisis in writing.” Borrowing and experimenting with the poem’s discordant flows the film is a constant interplay between language, music and imagery, where representations of boundaries between states of being are constantly collapsing. Sedgwick described the poem as a gathering of thresholds: “between a person alive and dead; a person and a photograph; a present and a past; a child and adult; people with the same name; a happening and the dream of it; a writer and a character; an I and a she or a he.” This conjuring of transgressive states in the poem creates an experimental space to reflect on psychoanalytic ideas, about infantile experience and inner and outer worlds. At the end of the poem Sedgwick originally included her notes, which she was unable to integrate, but unwilling to dispose of. By publishing her discarded fragments Sedgwick preserves her poetical remains as waste; serving up the leftovers of the poem’s construction and advertising the revisions and erasures that have made it. Taking these notes as an invitation for artistic interpretation the film explores the ways in which bodies, identities and creative works survive their own destruction.

Warm Decembers centers around one of the poem’s side characters Beatrix, who is transformed into the film’s protagonist. Orphaned as a child and now transitioning into adulthood, she works to negotiate the influence of her absent parents and her own sense of subjecthood. Shot in a doll-house-like set, her room is a passage between inside and outside where her grief manifests as a debilitating bladder condition which causes her to experience hallucinations. Although not physiologically identical with what Sedgwick called ‘anality,’ Beatrixs trouble with urination is an issue that stems from the ‘anal stage’ of her psychosexual development. The prohibitions and taboos surrounding defecation and urination are a reminder that the forces governing Beatrix’s decisions are external, social and cultural. Throughout the film she negotiates her desires, as well as what the outer world wants for (or from) her, which, she experiences as a deep and almost unresolvable conflict. In contrast Beatrix’s creativity is linked to her control and capacity to release something of herself into the world on her own terms. Creativity and digestion are synonymous for Beatrix’s and Sedwick takes her artistic output seriously.

at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna
until January 14, 2023

Source link

Latest articles

Related articles