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Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Genet... Photo by Tony Millings. Courtesy of The Gallery at NUCA

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Genet... Photo by Tony Millings. Courtesy of The Gallery at NUCA

Events - Talks

Genet: Sex, Power and Dramaturgy

Audio & Video Archived Online

14 Sep 2011

Major French thinkers of the 1960s - like Jacques Derrida, Hélène Cixous and Félix Guattari – reclaimed Genet from the stranglehold of Sartrean existentialism. They proposed Genet the nomad, Genet as deconstructionist, Genet the author of radical feminine writing.

This symposium considers Genet’s literary and theatrical assaults on colonialism, and on conceptions of sexual identity. The speakers offer insights into Genet’s confrontation with society against the backdrop of May ‘68 in France.

Running order of the day:

2.00pm: Introduction by Clare Finburgh
2:10pm: Carl Lavery - Aesthetics and politics of Genet's late theatre
2:50pm: Adrian Rifkin – Between Document and Monument: Genet as Place.
3:30pm: Break
4.00pm: Agnès Vannouvong – Polymorphism of the Genre. On the “Sexuality Dispositive” in Jean Genet`s dramaturgy
4:40pm: Panel discussion led by Clare Finburgh with all speakers
5:30pm: Closing Clare Finburgh

Further information on the speakers and their papers:

Clare Finburgh will introduce and facilitate this symposium.
Dr Finburgh is Senior Lecturer in Modern Drama at The University of Essex. She completed her PhD in French Studies at University College London. Her research is focused on modern drama from France and Francophone areas. Finburgh co-edited Genet: Performance and Politics (2006) and co-wrote Jean Genet (2011.) She has published articles in journals in the UK, USA, and France, on French theatre makers.

Carl Lavery will consider the aesthetics and politics of Genet's late theatre following on from his publication The Politics of Jean Genet's Late Theatre: Spaces of Revolution (2010), which situate sthe politics of Genet's theatre within the social, spatial and political contexts of post-war France. He will do by this reflecting on Genet's dramaturgy and ideas of transversality and assemblage. He will also explore what it might mean to write critically about Genet's complex notion of aesthetic politics.

Dr Lavery has taught at several universities in the UK, and currently teaches in the department of Theatre, Film and Television at Aberystwyth University. Lavery has written Spaces of Revolution: The Politics of Jean Genet's Late Theatre, co-authored Sacred Theatre (2007) and co-edited Jean Genet: Performance and Politics (2006) and Contemporary French Theatre and Performance with Clare Finburgh (2011). He has also written for performance and collaborated with several contemporary companies and artists. He is co-author of Walking, Writing and Performance: Autobiographical Texts by Dee Heddon, Carl Lavery and Phil Smith (2009). His most recent publication is 'Good Luck Everybody'. Lone Twin: Journeys, Performances and Conversation (with David Williams, 2011). He is currently writing a book about location and performance.

Adrian Rifkin will discuss the implications of figures such as Sartre, Derrida and Fassbinder’s descriptions of Genet as a site of commentary and cultural fetishism with particular attention to Genet's self-reflection in Notre Dame des Fleurs.

Adrian Rifkin is currently Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, London. He was previously Professor of Visual Culture at Middlesex University and Professor of Fine Art at the University of Leeds. Rifkin is the author of Street Noises, Parisian Pleasures, 1900 – 1940 (1993), Ingres then, and now (2001) and the site and blog

Agnès Vannouvong will investigate how Genet creates a poetics of ambiguity though a polymorphism of gender; circulating sexual, social and imaginary identity.

Dr Vannouvong is a Lecturer at Geneva University. Her research focuses on representations of the body and gender within contemporary art and literature. She co-edited Toutes les images du langage, Jean Genet (2008) and published her PHD under the title Jean Genet, les revers du genre (2010.) Her articles include The wounded man, For Genet, (2011), Dancing on the wire, The Tightrope of Jean Genet, (2009) Jean Genet and the arts, Arts Journal (2009) For a sexualization of the image in The Maids and The Balcony, Jean Genet, Journal Verso,(2006.)

Lili Reynaud-Dewar lives and works in France. Her newly commissioned installation appears in Act 2: Prisoner of Love in the current exhibition. Reynaud-Dewar has exhibited internationally, including solo shows at Bielefeld Kunstverein, Kunsthalle Basel, and has appeared in group shows including CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain de Bordeaux and Calder Foundation, New York.

There will be a new performance /reading, developed by Lili Reynaud - Dewar, featuring poet-performer and fellow Genet admirer Pierre Giquel and singer Sabisha Friedberg in the galleries to follow the symposium at 8pm, lasting for approximately 20 minutes.

Nottingham Contemporary's public programme is jointly funded by Nottingham Trent University and The University of Nottingham.

Listen to audio from the event here (42.4MB)


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