Friday, 15 July 2016

“Qué significa ser radical en el siglo XXI”: Entrevista a Angela Davis

“Qué significa ser radical en el siglo XXI”: Entrevista a Angela Davis










































45 años después de que sus primeros bolos académicos atrajesen la ira del gobernador [de California] Ronald Reagan, Angela Y. Davis vuelve al campus este semestre como profesora del departamento de estudios de género de la Universidad de California en Los Ángeles. Su discurso del jueves pasado en el  Royce Hall sobre feminismo y supresión de las cárceles resume parte de su trabajo, pero no todo, una larga carrera académica con su activismo radical en paralelo. El presidente Nixon la llamó “peligrosa terrorista” cuando fue acusada de asesinato y conspiración tras un tiroteo mortal en un juzgado en 1970. Fue absuelta y, desde entonces, esta mujer nacida en el campo de minas de la segregación racial de Birmingham, en el estado de Alabama, ha escrito, enseñado y dado clase por todo el mundo. Su emblemático pelo “afro” se ha transformado desde su silueta de 1970; su intensidad, no. La entrevista la realizó Patt Morrison, conocida comentarista de Los Angeles Times.
El Congreso está trabajando en la reforma de de las penas de cárcel. Muchos estados han prohibido la pena capital. ¿No resulta esto alentador?
Me he vinculado al movimiento de supresión de las prisiones; eso no significa que me niegue a respaldar reformas. Hay una campaña muy importante contra las celdas de aislamiento, una reforma que es absolutamente necesaria. La diferencia reside en si las reformas contribuyen a hacer la vida más habitable para la gente que está en la cárcel o si apuntalan el complejo penitenciario-industrial. De modo que no es una situación de blanco o negro.
¿Qué sería un sistema penal justo para usted?
Es complicado. La mayoría de quienes estamos en el movimiento abolicionista del siglo XXI nos fijamos en la crítica que hizo W.E.B. Du Bois respecto a la supresión de la esclavitud: que no se trataba simplemente de arrojar las cadenas. La verdadera meta consistía en volver a crear una sociedad democrática que permitiera la incorporación de los antiguos esclavos. La supresión de las cárceles tendría que ver con la construcción de una nueva democracia: derechos substanciales, a la subsistencia económica, a la salud; un énfasis mayor en la educación que en el encarcelamiento; crear nuevas instituciones que tenderían a hacer obsoletas las cárceles.
¿Cree que llegará un día en que las cárceles ya no sean necesarias?
Es posible, pero aunque no suceda esto, podemos pasar a un tipo muy diferente de justicia que no requiera un impulso retributivo cuando alguien hace algo terrible.
¿Ha visto la tragicomedia Orange Is the New Black [serie televisiva], de tema carcelario?
No sólo he visto la serie sino que he leído las memorias [de Piper Kerman], que es un análisis mucho más profundo que el que se ve en la serie, pero como persona que ha analizado el papel de las cárceles de mujeres en la cultura visual, sobre todo en el cine, creo que [la serie] no está mal. Hay tantos aspectos que con frecuencia no aparecen en las representaciones de la gente en estas circunstancias opresivas. Por ejemplo, en Doce años de esclavitud, uno de las cosas que eché de menos era cierto sentido de alegría, cierto sentido de placer, cierto sentido de humanidad.
Este semestre vuelve usted a la UCLA [Universidad de California en Los Ángeles], el campus del que el gobernador Ronald Reagan hizo que le expulsaran.
Era una oferta que no podía rechazar. Los estudiantes son muy diferentes de los estudiantes de 1969, 1970. Son mucho más sofisticados en el sentido de que tienen preguntas más complicadas.
Cuando considera hoy el feminismo, ¿cree que las mujeres han retrocedido, salvo, si acaso, cuando se trata de la sala de juntas?
Se puede hablar de multiples feminismos; no se trata de un fenómeno unitario. Hay quienes asumen que el feminismo significa ascender dentro de la jerarquía en puestos de poder, y eso está bien, pero no es lo que mejor sabe hacer el feminismo. Si las mujeres que están en la base se mueven hacia arriba, el conjunto de la estructura se mueve hacia arriba.
La clase de feminismo con el que me identifico es un método de investigación, pero también de activismo.
Stokely Carmichael solía bromear diciendo que la posición de las mujeres en el Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee del movimiento de derechos civiles era “boca abajo”. ¿Son las mujeres participantes plenas de la política de hoy?
Tal vez no del todo, pero hemos hecho muchos progresos. Respecto a cómo pensamos sobre los movimientos del pasado, animo a la gente a mirar más allá de las heroicas figuras masculinas. Si bien Martin Luther King es alguien a quien reverencio, no me gusta dejar que lo que representa borre las aportaciones de la gente corriente. El boicot de los autobuses de Montgomery en 1955 tuvo éxito porque hubo mujeres negras, trabajadoras domésticas, que se negaron a tomar el autobús. ¿Dónde estaríamos hoy si no hubieran actuado así?
¿Apoya usted el libre control de la natalidad y el aborto, que se denuncia entre ciertos sectores como genocidio?
A veces en lo que podrían parecer afirmaciones estrafalarias, descubrimos que puede haber un grano de verdad. Aunque nunca sostendría que el control de la natalidad o el derecho al aborto constituyen genocidio, he de tomar en consideración de qué modo se ha impuesto la esterilización a la gente pobre, sobre todo a la gente de color, y que alguien como Margaret Sanger [precursora de la planificación familiar en los años 20] sostenía que [el control de natalidad] era un privilegio para las mujeres acomodadas, pero un deber en el caso de las mujeres más pobres. 
¿Qué piensa del primer presidente negro del país?
Hay momentos de enormes posibilidades, y su elección fue uno de esos momentos. En todo el mundo la gente tenía la impresión de que nos movíamos hacia un mundo nuevo. Por breve que fuera esa sensación de euforia, se trata de algo que no olvidaremos. Eso nos permite comprender qué posibilidades podría reservarnos el futuro. [Pero] mucha gente ha tendía a depositar tantas aspiraciones en individuos singulares que no han conseguido — no hemos conseguido — realizar esa labor de sacarle más partido a ese momento. La gente fue a las urnas y dijo “Ya hemos hecho nuestro parte” y le dejó el resto a Obama.
¿Es la democracia un buen chasis sobre el que erigir un sistema politico?
Creo profundamente en las posibilidades de la democracia, pero la democracia necesita emanciparse del capitalismo. Mientras vivamos en una democracia capitalista, se nos seguirá escapando un futuro de igualdad racial, de igualdad de género, de igualdad económica.
En 1980 y 1984 se presentó como candidata del Partido Comunista a la vicepresidencia; ¿significaba eso que tenía fe en el proceso democrático?  
Se trataba de sugerir que hay alternativas. Nadie creía que fuera posible ganar, pero en los años 80 se produjo el ascenso de la globalización del capital, del complejo penitenciario-industrial, y era importante proporcionar algunos análisis politicos alternativos.
¿Qué piensa ahora del comunismo?
Todavía mantengo un vínculo, [pero] ya no soy militante. Abandoné el partido porque tenía la impresión de que no estaba abierto al tipo de democratización que nos hacía falta. Creo que el capitalismo sigue siendo el género de futuro más peligroso que podamos imaginar.
¿Por qué falló el comunismo en lo que falló?
Eso exigiría una larga conversación. Puede que haya habido democracia económica, que es lo que nos falta en Occidente, pero sin democracia política y social, lo cierto es que no funciona. No creo que tengamos que tirar el bebé con el agua del niño, sería important ver qué es lo que verdaderamente funcionaba y lo que no.
¿Como que no hubiera libertad de expresión?
Sí.
En 2016 se cumplirá el 50 aniversario del partido de las Panteras Negras; fue usted miembro del mismo durante algún tiempo.
El movimiento de derechos civiles tendía a centrarse en la integración, pero había quienes decían: “No queremos asimilarnos en un barco que se hunde, de modo que cambiemos totalmente el barco”. El surgimiento del Partido de las Panteras Negras marcó un momento de ruptura y todavía estamos en ese momento.
El partido tenía dos tipos distintos de activismo: el activismo de base que contribuyó a crear instituciones que todavía hoy funcionan, por ejemplo, el Departamento de Agricultura dispone ahora de programas de desayunos gratuitos. Por otro lado, está la posición de defense propia y de control de la policía.
Si se le echa un vistazo al programa de 10 puntos del partido, cada uno de sus puntos resulta tanto o más pertinente 50 años más tarde. El punto décimo incluye el control comunitario de la tecnología. Eso fue muy profético. Se trata de usar la tecnología en vez de que permitir que nos use a nosotros.
Alguna gente todavía debe ver en usted a la joven que apoyaba la violencia contra la policía, la violencia de los movimientos políticos.
Es importante comprender las diferencias entre esa época y ésta. Nuestra relación con las armas era muy diferente y se centraba en buena medida en la defensa propia. Hoy en día, cuando hay del orden de 300 millones de armas en el país y hemos experimentado estos horrendos tiroteos, no podemos adoptar la misma postura. Estoy completamente a favor del control de armas, de eliminar las armas no sólo de los civiles sino también de la policía.
Se utilizaron pistolas de su propiedad en el secuestro y el tiroteo del Marin County Civic Center en 1970. Fue absuelta de todas las acusaciones. He leído que había comprador las pistolas para su propia defensa.
Sí, y comenté la circunstancia de que mi padre tenía armas cuando yo era pequeña; nuestras familias tenían que protegerse del Ku Klux Klan. [Hoy en día] tenemos leyes contra el odio, hacia las que tengo una actitud ambivalente, porque a veces acaban usándose contra la gente que era inicialmente víctima. La legislación contra linchamientos se dirige más hacia los niños negros y las llamadas pandillas. A veces las herramientas contra el racismo se ponen al servicio de una especie de racismo estructural.
El documental Free Angela and All Political Prisonersdestaca mucho su relación con George Jackson, el activista de las cárceles muerto en la prisión de Soledad. ¿Demasiado?
Yo habría puesto el énfasis en otra parte. Si hablas con la directora, Shola Lynch, comprobarás que estaba trabajando dentro de géneros convencionales; ve la película como un drama político, unthriller criminal y una historia de amor. Aun así, la investigación que llevó a cabo fue realmente asombrosa. Entrevistó a uno de los agentes del FBI que me detuvieron y gracias a esa entrevista descubrí cómo me atraparon. Me impresiona cómo ha afectado la película a la gente joven. Puede ayudar a conversaciones entre generaciones de las que aprenda yo algo y aprenda algo la gente más joven.
¿Qué pasó con la forma de escribir radical, personal, de enfrentamiento de la década de los 60 y 70?
Es una pregunta interesante. En muchas cosas dependíamos de nosotros mismos. Esos experimentos son importantes, porque sin movernos a terrenos de los que uno no sabe nada, nunca habrá ningún cambio.
Supongo que hay gente que le dice: “Si no le gusta Norteamérica, ¿por qué se queda?”
He vivido en otros países, pero este es mi hogar, y me siento comprometida con la transformación de este país. Así lo he sentido desde que era niña. Mi madre era una activista que creía en las posibilidades de transformar el mundo. Y eso es algo a lo que todavía no he renunciado.
Angela Davis (1944), legendaria activista afroamericana de los años 60 vinculada al movimiento de derechos civiles, los Panteras Negras y el Partido Comunista norteamericano, por el que fue candidata a la vicepresidencia en los años 80, fue discípula de Herbert Marcuse en la Universidad de California, San Diego. Profesora jubilada de la Universidad de California, Santa Cruz, enseña actualmente en la de Syracuse, en el estado de Nueva York. Su trabajo teórico se ha centrado, entre otros temas, en el análisis de lo que denomina el “complejo penitenciario industrial” en los Estados Unidos.
Traducción para www.sinpermiso.info: Lucas Antón

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Hamlet, representation, lies and power betrayal simulacra revenge through out art ..... Berlin 2008 at BallHouse Ost



Is a question of power
power it self must be
abolished ---- and not
solely because of the
refusal to be dominated
which is at the heart of
all traditional struggles--
but also, just as
violently,
in the refusal to dominate.
intelligence cannot , can
never be in power
because
intelligence consist
of this double
refusal
power has ransacked
all of the strategies
of simulation :
parody,
irony,
and self mockery ------
leaving the left
with only a phantom
of the truth
the terms
"simulacrum"
"simulation"
and "virtual"
summarise this liquidation
in which every
signification is eliminated
by its own sign, and the
profusion of signs parodies
a by now unobtainable reality. Jean Baudrillard

























is a question
of identity
ethics morals principles
values
belief
politics
education upbringing
training
format
shape
self-esteem inspiration
society romanticism
privileges aesthetics
structures territories
power
will
limitations
electiveness
artifices conventions
language
settings
addictions discourse
behaving
choices
doubting confusion

Esther Planas

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Contingent ontologies Sex, gender and ‘woman’ in Simone de Beauvoir and Judith Butler

RP 097 (Sep/Oct 1999) / Article

Stella Sandford


The pre-eminent place of Simone de Beauvoirʼs The Second Sex in the development of gender theory and feminist philosophy is undeniable. References to The Second Sex in historical and theoretical work in gender theory appear as if obligatory, not only because of the immense debt which many feminist scholars feel they owe de Beauvoir personally, but also because of the recognition that it was in great part The Second Sex that made gender theory itself possible. The use of the word ʻgenderʼ to refer to socio-cultural forms of identity, or to culturally and institutionally normative sets of rules governing patterns of behaviour, did not appear in English until the 1960s. No French word appears in The Second Sex which could neatly and unproblematically be translated as ʻgenderʼ with these particular meanings. Still, one sentence in The Second Sex is taken to be epochal: ʻOn ne naît pas femme: on le devientʼ; ʻOne is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.ʼ1

That quotation is rarely continued. But de Beauvoir goes on: ʻNo biological, psychical, or economic fate determines the figure that the female human being presents in society; it is civilization as a whole that produces this creature, intermediate between male and eunuch, which is described as feminine.ʼ On the one side, then, the human female, an apparently biological category; on the other, this biological category figured in society, a production of civilization described as ʻfeminineʼ. In other words, it would appear, the Anglophone sex/gender distinction avant la lettre.2

For some, it was the sex/gender distinction that allowed second-wave feminism to get off the ground, and few feminist scholars would disagree on the fact, if not the nature, of its historical importance. More recently, dating perhaps from the mid-1980s, a concerted critique of the sex/gender distinction has not mitigated this sense of historical importance, or even historical necessity. But developments in feminist theory – in particular the claims being made on behalf of various feminisms of difference – and the coming into being of queer theory have contributed to a certain relegation of the sex/gender distinction to the past.3Thus, while it is probably the case that a notion of gender, understood as a predominantly social category in opposition to the biological category of sex, is still the main theoretical tool in most feminist scholarship and in feminist-led discussions of social policy, the association of de Beauvoir with the sex/ gender distinction assigns The Second Sex the same fate as the distinction itself: historically important and interesting, the sex/gender distinction and The Second Sex are seen as being of only limited contemporary theoretical relevance.

This article attempts to locate the significance of The Second Sex in the here and now, rather than in the historical past. To this end, Judith Butlerʼs various readings of de Beauvoir can be seen as exemplary of a certain misreading. From an initially enthusiastic account of de Beauvoir, Butler has moved to an increasingly critical (but always ambiguous) position based on de Beauvoirʼs purported theoretical reliance on the sex/gender distinction. But what if there is no such distinction in The Second Sex? And what are the consequences of, and reasons for, Butlerʼs reading one into it? Following these questions through, The Second Sex may be read in such a way as to provide grounds for a critique of Butlerʼs own theoretical position on the ontological status of sex, gender and the body in her work of the Gender Trouble period, and shed light on what is, I will argue, the radicalized form of ontology at work in her later writings.

[…]


Notes

1. Simone de Beauvoir, Le deuxième sexe [DS], Gallimard, Paris, 1976, Vol. II, p. 13; The Second Sex[SS], trans. H.M. Parshley, Picador, London, 1988, p. 295.

2. Conceptually, of course, something like a sex/gender distinction was already operative in, for example, Mary Wollstonecraftʼs 1792 Vindication of the Rights of Woman (Penguin, London, 1987) and J.S. Millʼs 1869 essay ʻThe Subjection of Womenʼ (in Three Essays, Oxford Unversity Press, Oxford, 1985). In both of these texts it is the detachment of the cultural attributes of ʻfemininityʼ from biological sex – the argument that actually existing ʻfemininityʼ is not predominantly determined by biology – that forms the basis for the critique of the prejudices of their peers. The sex/gender distinction is not, however, explicit; neither employs the word ʻgenderʼ, which, for both, would have had a primarily grammatical meaning. It is interesting that Raymond Williamsʼs Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (Fontana, London, 1983), first published in 1976, has no entry for ʻgenderʼ. Under ʻsexʼ, however, he notes the turn to the use of ʻgenderʼ in the 1960s and quotes (p. 286) Gladstone in 1878 as a precursor: ʻAthene has nothing of sex except the gender, nothing of the woman except the form.ʼ Even this, however, could be read as a reference to the grammatical meaning of the term, i.e. ʻsheʼ has nothing of the woman, but ʻsheʼ is still (grammatically) ʻsheʼ.

3. Moira Gatens, ʻA Critique of the Sex/Gender Distinctionʼ (in Judith Allen and Paul Patton, eds, ʻBeyond Marxism? Interventions After Marxʼ, Intervention, no. 17, 1983), is perhaps the best-known challenge. Gatensʼs essay (reprinted in her Imaginary Bodies: Ethics, Power and Corporeality, Routledge, London and New York, 1996) makes a strong case for the dependence of the sex/gender distinction on a discredited (and implicitly rationalistic) body/mind dualism in which the body is mistakenly conceived as neutral and passive. However, Gatensʼs alternative account of the ʻimaginary bodyʼ is undermined by the fact that it treats the notions of ʻsex differenceʼ and ʻsexual differenceʼ (psychoanalytically understood) as if they were the same thing.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

THE FIRST ROCK STAR Meet Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the black woman who invented that rock and roll sound

THE FIRST ROCK STAR
Meet Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the black woman who invented that rock and roll sound
by Alexis C. Madrigal
Rosetta Tharpe was born 100 years ago today—March 20, 1915, twenty years before Elvis, a decade before Chuck Berry. And she could play the rock and roll guitar better than anyone, before anyone.

Now, rock and roll has a lot of parents. Any movement so big in popular music isn’t just invented by one person. But if anybody can claim the title of Mother of Rock and Roll, it would be Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Coming out of the gospel world, she was willing to cross over into playing for secular audiences, and more importantly, she just knew how to wield the axe in a way that is uncannily modern.

“She had a major impact on artists like Elvis Presley,” her biographer Gayle Wald told a documentary film crew. “When you see Elvis Presley singing songs early in his career, I think you [should] imagine, he is channeling Rosetta Tharpe. It’s not an image that I think we’re used to thinking of in rock and roll history. We don’t think about the black woman behind the young white man.”


But we should! Not just because it is historical truth, but because Rosetta Tharpe is an amazing, amazing musician who was so far ahead of her time (and something of a superstar in her time, too).

“She did incredible picking. That’s what attracted Elvis to her,” Gordon Stoker, who led Elvis’ backing band, told the documentary crew. “He liked her singing, too. But he liked her picking first, because it was so different.”

Her 1944 hit “Down by the Riverside” features a solo section where she just shreds the guitar. Like, the kind of shredding Michael J. Fox’s character tries to pull off in Back to the Future. And this was before the end of World War II!

Just watch her go here, at the beginning of the documentary about her life. She was a rock star before there were rock stars.

In her day, it was mostly men who played the guitar. And not much has changed, except rock guitar players are ever whiter, as the music gets farther from its roots in blues and R&B. And yet, there she is, proof positive that there was a super talented woman blowing minds a half decade before Chess Records coalesced in Chicago and a full decade before Elvis Presley ever even walked into Sun Records in Memphis.


This isn’t to take anything away from later rock artists, who obviously extended the genre in ways that were good and interesting. But when we think of the pantheon of great rock figures, Sister Rosetta Tharpe should be at the front of the chronological list. Period.

Perhaps my favorite video of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, though, comes from much later, 1964, after her work (like many other blues players) was rediscovered by British rock musicians. She toured England, and for the show in question, she arrived at the Manchester stage in a horse-drawn carriage. She’s nearly 50. Her hair is up. She’s wearing a thick wool overcoat that was cut to drape around her like a dress. Her legs poke out the bottom, elegantly dropping into high heels.

A guitar is slung around her neck. Hundreds of cheering fans sit in bleachers. As soon as she begins to play, you know she will bring down the house.

She died in 1973. It would be her 100th birthday today, and I’m sure if she were still alive, she’d still be doing exactly this.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Common Madness an ongoing self ethnographic project about a series of works from 1984 to 2004 ( started somewhere in 2012 this notes for a paper or visual essay are been worked from now on in August 2015)

Common Madness
Elitist Madness 
Forbidden Madness
Secret Madness 
Real Madness 


Intro: 

I like to divide this paper in 3 parts

The first will be dedicated to update the work from a previous period, between 1984/2005,that has been linking issues of sexual and emotional abuse, addiction and mental disorders. Those issues were touched via certain symbolism as Vampire tales and references to various figures from our cultural background, detritus of today found in tales, cinema, comics or even real life transformed in celebrity culture.

My work entered a strong phase of therapeutical gestures and therefor almost exorcism, by conveying words, ideas and images that where iconic and other imaginary constructions, that helped me to deal with such deeply hidden emotions and experiences from my teenage-hood .

My idea, when using some real biographic information to be referred to as part of my work, comes from a very feministic tradition of self questioning, self exploration and self reference. But aiming at to actually erase oneself inside the archetypical and the universal.

So that I could call, those works as comments on Common Madness.

How it all was real and how that, that had become part of the abject, had found its mirrors in to Pop's Dark tales.

I have selected a few examples of some of the works, but also I like to note a few culturally influential references.


Carrie:

 (to which I related as an epileptic girl at boarding school) 

How was I treated by my schoolgirl mates as an epileptic companion?(I was abused and bullied) how I was treated by a male with authority? (my father abused at length his position and specially one teacher who persecute me and punish me till I quit school all together) how I have been treated as a medicated girl with epilepsy? Carrie, the movie, really affected me when I saw it first time. There was an intimate connection, but of course my glamorous friends of the time ( cinema producer, film makers and actors in late 70's Barcelona) could never imagine why this actually was the case. In a way, I was as is said of other "issues" in the "closet". Which is a typical strategy of anyone abused and victim of child emotional abuse. During a performance for the University of Birmingham as guest of Ana and Stuart of AAS Group as an invited performance artist. I presented a sort of Noise re-enactment of the moment when Carrie got the Pig's Blood all over her. In my case just tomato juice. It was quite an strong statement and sadly the film of the performance has been lost. 


Christiana F 

(as I was a sort of meta-junky, a junky with out heroine but with chronic medication and opiates and junky friends every where) 


Christiana F, was a very special reference, as many of my friends in mid 70's had the "habit" and I had some times even sustained their elastics around their arms, wile looking away for them to inject.
Again, this times, where impregnated of a sort of nihilism, the context was a mix of bourgueois and very rebel outsiders, from the lower classes, including, gipsies ( many times dealers and consumers) or ex mates from prison. This context was a very particular specific of this times, and some how reflected the tiredness of some of being under a fascist regime for so long 
(40years)but also as maybe you know it was a consequence of the social engineering designs, that made of rebel creative folks, that seceded from their own social context duties and had already experimented creatively with some drugs, just zombies that stole old ladies bags. In the midst of all this, and after some of this friends had died of OD, here it came Christiana F,that was a real bio as Film.

Later I will use the icon of the junky girl, to remind in my work, that a girl that uses Heroine is some one who must have been abused in a way or another, and deceived by the society that was supposed to protect her.Some folks will criticise my works of Heroine Chic, with out even caring to find out, why was it that I used such iconography.

Of course the suggestion to the use of opiates,as the tranquillisers that had been prescribed to me wile as a kid I had a serie of epileptic seizures, was then more than enough to give me a sort of insight on this theme. 


The first reference to my treatment appeared  in 1996, I had a show all related to Insomnia, Medication and Isolation.

  



Kathy Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School 

(The amazing bad schoolgirl whom I discovered in a London bookshop called Dylan's, wile I was waiting to go to my dance classes at the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden in 1981. Later, I will had an small fragment of her text ( her obsession with Jean Genet in Tangier)   translated for the magazine V.O. which was the last of series I had edited and published in 1985) 




Since those times in London and after being exposed to the works of Acker and I had an attempt at making some performatic work inspired on the female fucked up decadent prostitute role for my publication V.O. the same one that featured an small translation of Kathy Acker’s text from Blood and Guts in H S. 
This women was hanging out in Argelia and Tangier too, my representation was based on the idea that Barcelona as a port, had similar essences and the mediterranean flavour of seedy city port night times. 

In 1986, I travelled to Tangier, Tetouan and Rabat and was already a fan of the work and life of Jane Bowles. Her situation fascinated me, I really liked her way of life and her text. 



Me in Rabat 1986,imagining becoming Jane Bowles during a trip with photographer friend Jorge Esteva, who did the picture at our Hotel Room

Jane Bowles and Kathy Acker seem to merge in to one, when I improvised this aesthetic or this performative image of my self for the series of pictured my friend take of me in Rabat. The image, what you see in the photo, is not a pose, or a fake like when doing a character for a film. It was realistic, as I was then re-interpreting sources of inspiration, a sort of role models for me.
Looking backwards, I realise that both ladies where North American, and at least one of them was a jew ( for which the connection, is then more full circle) also important to note, is the fact that in those times I was starting to be more and more aware of the cultural colonialism to which we had been submitted either by UK or USA, but nuances in relation to the countercultural or international figures like those women, did not apply. I saw them quite similar on a sort of feminist structural sense.  

 This whole idea of being this hetero queer, this wild women, this independent sort, was really my inspiration and on the time, I did not have knowledge of any women like this in my own context in Barcelona. As far as I knew, I was in to a solitary quest. I was writing erotic tales one of which had two male making it in Tangier port, one night and I was "daring" to write as if I was a male and a gay guy. In a way, if Bataille could write Le Histoire de L'Oleil, and other authors like Flaubert could travesty themselves as female, I could do the same on to the other side. 

Thinking about exotisms, is not that, I was inlove with the seedy Barcelona I was living and had discovered since mid 70's. This world of lost people in Arab ( North African)Mediterranean southern spaces, where all was left down, slower, erotic and intoxicated, really attracted my imagination during those years.  

Eddy Sedgwick

The lost girl continues as a lost “pretence of a women” Bob Dylan in this sense defines perfectly how was like to be ”Just like a Women”.



The aesthetic its clearly a residual echo of a kind of victim of Andy Warhol and of Bob Dylan and other male figures as it feels that obviously Eddy Sedgwick was. 

And who’s victim role was studied on a great text published at ZG and translated to spanish and pirated by me,to be published in my mag in fascist Spain in 1984.

It also reminds me of the song Bob Dylan may have dedicated to her: Just Like a Women. As there is a teenager still at heart who ends up in such vulnerable place she is not in control of that womanhood, she is just lost. 




In this weird early neoliberal times, to remember Eddy and the drugged and covered up decadence( vulnerability )of her vital and toxic journey across
 the 60"s New York underground world of Andy Warhol manipulative domains, came to me as a call to be reminded what where "accidents" the that during my own teenage and transition to women like life, in chaotic transitional Spain/ Barcelona had been.


First Part


Some early attempts to represent a fucked up lost women, with drug, addiction problems and obviously abused.

Here are some of the pics, I was the Editor and publisher of a magazine, trying to make it, as was inspired by Rosetta Brooks, ZG mag and to be really involved with politics and aesthetics.






Pic: Me when I was 24 and editor, publisher, performer, writer of V.O. magazine in Barcelona. By Betty Evers

Already quite punished by the male powers and hung-ups of my social context for daring to publish such cool magazine and for being not only a good writer but also a powerful editor, where already felt and experience as a progressive social alienation. 
Those days where very lonely and as incipient solo performer my naive attempts to impersonate a lost women had taken inspiration in a mix of muses. 
Encouraged by the roles of Kathy Acker, her voices and her persona, the many punk and post-punk ladies I hung out with in London(where I was studying contemporary Dance 1978/1983)and the postcard, fashion mag/art book Icons as Eddy was those days, a symbol already a sort of women Rimbaud, but dead and drugged till the end. 

The main star of this amazing magazine discovery,was Cindy Sherman and also,from the books that where sold those days in the same arty bookshops I used to inspect, I found Francesca Woodman, who was touched by the aura of her suicide again: failure and rejection, loneliness and alienation at the core of an amazing work.  

My attempt was shy and somehow, I hid on my own publication, leaving this solo photographic impersonation path lying dormant till many years later when unexpectedly I came back to the whole instinct and inspirational sources. 

By then,I had added to the list the amazing Ana Mendieta and as I was recovering my dance practice /performance and visual arts I found that by then, those published series of pictures and my own phantasmatic persona had also become a muse.

Why I had been so inspired in this kind of young women? 

I guess by intuition I knew they where the sensitive problematic romantic proto feminist, heroines of a kind,ex-flappers,flowers of cities with dirty ports and sailors,drug trafficking and the squizo- capitalist drum beat. 

With this four feminine figures of a teenager/or just like a women archetypes of our pop/art culture, I intended to talk about my own wounds for the first times: 

Those women/girl, are not only brought out to light for their great iconic characteristics,they are also the medium from which to talk about society’s behaviour around and about stigmatised people and in specifics(for my discourse was to expose the behaviour of society around female girls are but projects of what a woman may become) so a failed teen is a failed socially correct women, in this case Eddy Sedgwick is a great and sad example of this, but its also Francesca Woodman and her inability to sustain rejection.  

By the times I was “just like a women my self” it was official 
that I had always been rejected by the so called representatives 
and distributors of normality and was only welcomed by all that 
was queer, bohemian, Marxist and stigmatised, a whole collective 
of otherness formed the acquaintances and friends towards which 
I drifted naturally.

Either on the Mediterranean islands self-exile journey after leaving school, where mainly writers, musicians,actors,dancers …artist … but most of all bohemians or intellectual and social deserters from the bourgeoisie contingent.




me at 16 1976, pic by friend artist( can't remember his name)

From the other side, all that actors, theatre people, musicians and dancers with whom I worked since my mid teens, where usually coming from working classes but where all in touch and relating to the leftist from up town. People knew each other by their names, nothing like what ones parents did was relevant. We where there because we where different and risking the same persecution, censure or even prison.
  
               me photographed by friend Pixi in Deia, Majorca 1977

During the times we can call pre-twin towers, even if we can consider the couple of years immediately after included. 

I mostly only produced the fanzines Dark Star 1998 to 2002 (with an extra edition round 2004) my work was presented as the expanded publications on installations  with films or slide shows, music from my band, and posters made out of some selected pages of my publication. 

Some of the shows used to have hips of empty pill silvery cases.
The aesthetic will have strong teenage angst flavour as the highlight was to point out at abuse as the main reason why a women to be (a girl) loses her mind and gets in trouble. 



I was accused by Martin Herbert of playing with Heroin Chic iconographies plus been a rubbish artist with a rubbish band performance project,a critique that some how reverberates till 
this days.

Truth is that the kind of aesthetics etc got very quick co-opted and turned on to superficial hype, which is what always happens to any art soon or later.

In any case and whatever the critics short mind, my work was an expanded tool of exposure of an uncomfortable truth and at the same time was generating a real community scene all my performances take place in the neighbourhood with young musicians and inhabitants of the east end, they had drug problems and they lived in the artificial paradises that this concrete atomising city offers as a way to bare the enormous pressure that means to live in.
I was pointing to the lack of Love and the use of Heroine(the drug of the sensitive people )as a result of the life in London,this monster city,this metropolis for slaves.
During these times I developed with one of the artist and founder of Five Years a concept and a term that was used for a seminal show at Five Years Underwood street in 2000 that contained the situation and its components the term Dark POP.







Second part 

A very specific Dark Star re-appeared in 2004 as more formal specific less collage just text and photos, some drawings …

I was also building up a line of work dedicated to the social estate houses( I lived there with my partner till 2007 when we split) and constructing a narrative that had buildings,flowers,cemeteries, birds and young lonely people inside their rooms(even if where dreamers and beautiful losers,losers they where,and losers they stayed)this is what happens when one does not became a soldier or a guerrillero,it becomes a idle flower of self poisoned substance abuse creature of the metropolitan city, the after Baudelaire’s .. the Rimbaud’s that could not flee,the real people one had written sad poems about. 
Defeated and seduced by journeys in to oblivion and self obliteration with soundtracks of fading times, rooms filled with posters and medicaments,alcohols and higher drugs.


In 2004 I was invited by John Russell to write a fiction text for his project that was Text as Art. His collection  called Frozen Tears and my text was featured on the first tome of this art /text editorial project. 

He set up the basic themes those where sci-fi and horror .
I submitted a text written in first person where I am assuming many identities related to real or fictional characters on film and literature ,so that I was Mary Shelley , then The Creature, then Jack The Ripper, then Mina Harker,then Nadja ( Breton), then Cat People,then Olaya (R L Stevenson),etc etc… but at the core of the story there was a killer who suffered of Ennui ( The English Maladie)and that pioneered Snuff movie making.
As an addict, killer on spleen I walked and drifted alone in the massive metropolis.

The Opium Den being one of her hideouts:






The whole text breathes,dark pop and psycho-geographic elements, it also reclaims Surrealism and Romanticism. 
And what is all this if is not a critique of society as a Capitalist Beast ? 
Who is Dracula ? we know what he represents, we know what Jack the Ripper represents too.
I am going to read a small piece where I am cutting and pasting Olaya soliloquy at the short tale from R L Stevenson’s called by the same name in between my own text as the “voice” of Thee ( the tale):

When my perplexed walkabouts around the insides of
the huge London, as if in a never ending monster,
reproduced themselves in my dreams – then I felt 
possessed by a feeling of void, and the anguish and the
anxiety filled all my house and my conscience …

"And looking at the portrait of my father I would ask
myself:There is my hand to the least line, there are my
eyes and my hair.
What is mine, then, and what am I? If
there is not a curve in this body of mine, not a gesture
that I can frame, not a tone of my voice, not any look
from my eyes, no, not even now when I stand in front of
him, but has belonged to others?” 

They were dead, all dead. I am dead but what’s the 
difference, between life and death? Death is all over us,
death unifies us in her warm womb. They where dead, I
was dead, dead, dead – but I was undead … I had to be
there … in the infinite, in the horror and in the eternal
melancholy 


Of course this text has not yet been analysed for what it maybe meaning. 
I know what I had in my head when I had written the tale, my father’s abuse, my life in London and the malaise, the loneliness and coldness around me. 

The Capitalist way of life, the way artist around would do any thing to any one even kill( symbolically at least two some women had betrayed me and stop talking to me) them just for the sake of their careers etc etc. The horrible heartless and pulse of this dark side of London, living in its East End, feeling its ghost and spirits of so much suffering and exploitation that is buried under its lands.
I did wanted it to be a subliminal Critique of the Art World. But maybe it was too subliminal.

In any case yes, we agree the figure of a first person, a narrator and a women or girl is clearly my voice and it reflects it so.
Against all the “buts” around people who are self referential,I can say it makes sense for me because my background is dance and theatre, even TV .. 

So that I am my own tool, my physical condition is always used, but used to represent issues that I know( so that had happened )to be filtered to be exposed in a way that becomes more symbolical and less right out biographic.

When doing the pictures and the friends and my life around the Estate Houses in the East End of London etc etc, I am doing a documentary, but when I pass this material on to my publication or expanded on film then there is the narrative/poetic license, that pushes things further in order to make us actors to say some thing that needs to be covered in order to be revealed.


Part Three 

coming soon ......







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About Me

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Esther Planas, Barcelona, is a performer and visual artist, she studied dance at Anna Maleras and at The London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) London, at El Institut del Teatre and Area Spai de Dansa y Creacio, Barcelona. In mid 80's Published V.O. magazine Spain, today at MACBA Arxius for research. Lives between London, Barcelona. Esther Planas is an independent artist and belongs to the artist co-op collective space Five Years since 1998, London Selected at BCN Produccio/10 , Barcelona and the 8 Festival de Performance de Cali, Colombia 2012 Nominated for the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artist in 2014 Esther Planas started to study with The Trask Foundation Grant at CSM MRes Art Theory and Philosophy. She left school at 14 and 40 years later she entered the academic world based on her self taught independent practice.

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