The Revolting Body

Whilst in Worcester we invited Sarah Browne to come over to present a film screening in relation to her research within Manual Labours. Having had the departure point for Sarah’s commission as ‘The Complaining Body’ Sarah’s research has migrated to ‘The Revolting Body’: a body so engulfed with complaints that it must revolt.

In Browne’s screening the term body used to represent both an individual and collective. In the Sheffield Film Co-op’s A Question of Choice women working in a primary school running the canteen discuss their struggle with the gendered conditions of employment. Whilst Joyce Wieland’s Film remembers those demonstrating in support of the striking workers of the Dare Cookie Factory in Ontario filming the individual feet that walk and march behind in solidarity to the revolt. Laura Kipnis’ brilliant film Marx The Video lucidly describes Marx’s own revolting body during his writing of Capital. ‘Writing capital – his narrative of the conditions of the English proletariat, his body broke out in a proletarian disease (…) The revolution he anticipated – the thwarted revolution – was displaced onto his own skin.’ He tells in details in his letters to Engels in Manchester the struggle of his body analysing his revolting skin and the terrible warts and carbuncles that at times made it impossible for him to write for weeks. ‘His body just erupted’.

Between the screening of these 3 film’s Browne edited a series of additional clips and materials sharing her research with the audience. These included a number of edited sections from the 1989 film ‘How to Get Ahead in Advertising’, Youtube clips filming the fetish of the squeezing of spots and cysts and a number of key documentation pieces from the current National College of Art, Dublin student Action – an inspiring student organised action ‘against the irresponsible governance of their college’.

Screened Films
Sheffield Film Co-op A Question of Choice 1982
Joyce Wieland Solidarity 1973
Laura Kipnis Marx the Video 1990