“I must give people art that demands very little attention and takes almost nothing for me to do,” writes the character Pasolini in Kathy Acker’s My Death My Life by Pier Paolo Pasolini. It has been a year of Kathy Acker everywhere. We can talk about her now, and people will know who we’re talking about. At the same time, saying “Kathy Acker” still works like a secret code that gets you into a club where everyone is into radical experiments with syntax and sex writing and a critique of the way ownership is coded into language. But it’s hard to work with and after Acker without either imitating her or just canonizing her. And the limits to the work – questions of politics and strategy – become more visible.
In this event, which moves between readings, performance, and conversations, we propose an environment in which to reflect on how we can use Acker’s work now, as writers and artists. What are its great tools, and what are the strategies that need to be reimagined?
The event is organised in collaboration with b_books. On 27 January 2020, b_books will host the Berlin launch of the first critical edition of Kathy Acker’s unpublished early writings from 1969-1976 together with Claire Finch and the publisher Édition Ismael.