The Cinema of Transgression founded by Nick Zedd (Takoma Park, 1958 – Mexico City, 2022), has no cathartic function in itself. It doesn’t want to reveal something rough or inappropriate in order to reduce its subversive capacity. It doesn’t normalize transgression by defusing its explosiveness and making it less offensive. The images must spark a flame with their dangerous intensity, this can only take place on the margins of the mediatic empire while outlining a new, wild frontier. Invisible in its ineffability, this submerged form of cinema was produced in the ‘80s by a cluster of figures from the New York underground scene who were united by an imperative to fight against the dominating culture. However, some of these figures weren’t exempt from a process of being reabsorbed into mainstream culture which Zedd was strongly opposed to over the course of time, claiming a marginal position for himself despite the legendary fame that embraced him. It couldn’t have been otherwise. To affirm his inclusion in mainstream cinema as well as in radical film movements, would be a declaration of defeat towards an adversary who under the guise of hedonism seeks nothing more than to limit the possibilities in individuals, both today and in those instances. The qualities defining the marginality of Zedd’s filmmaking, are not only a result of his position in relation to the system. Typical constraints in amateur cinema dictated by limited equipment, aren’t just accepted but are elevated into a method, acquiring more and more distance from professionalized ways of producing as well as from aesthetics with little authenticity. Often in the films, Zedd himself appears in front of the video camera surrounded by characters who in coherence with the format, reflect an impulse to stay on the margins. Mutilated persons, losers, anonymous junkies, prostitutes and decadent rockstars live in his world and are likewise portrayed as the main actors. Here, the real heroines and heroes are those excluded from society and viewed as public threats, because they have more freedom they are truly capable of experiencing and provoking intense emotive states. Consequently, these dynamics are overturned since the antagonists are none other than the keepers of the institutions and the promotors of bourgeois culture who actually represent the obscene machine of oppression. Revealing themselves for who they are: violent enemies of freedom. Nick Zedd’s cinema is then a battleground where we consume the confrontation between oppressive law and bodies that desire, captured by the atrociousness of bodies and by unfiltered actions in all their brutal and ironic vitality. Bodies outside of the law, made out of secretions, perversions and ecstasy, they are untamable and ready to break into a spiral of violence, constantly violating the limits. In this sense, Zedd is a Sadean and a libertine par excellence, through constant transgression he reaches a transformation that frees the body from its harness and disperses it in a new state of things. The films presented for this occasion belong to a body of work produced between 1980 and 2001. In addition to his most famous works such as Thrust in Me (1984), Police State (1987) and Ecstasy in Entropy (1999), lesser known short films and behind-the-scenes extras from selected films will also be screened.
at le vite, Milan
until August 2, 2022