April 19 – June 5. Pol Merchan: Pirate Boys, featuring Del LaGrace Volcano

Pol Merchan: Pirate Boys, featuring Del LaGrace Volcano
Commencement: Monday, April 19, 16:00-21:00
Conclusion: Saturday, June 5, 16:00-21:00 (RSVP by clicking here)
Monday, April 19 – Saturday, June 5. Thu, Fri and Sat 14:00-18:00 (appointment required)

Covid notice: Please register for a visit on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, 14:00-18:00 by emailing us at theinstituteforendoticresearch@gmail.com. For June 5, RSVP here. Bring a negative rapid test (not older than 24 hours) or proof of complete vaccination (minimum 14 days since final dose), and an FFP2 mask. If you cannot come to the space, write us to request a private video link.

For those not in Berlin, we will host Pirate Boys at http://tier.space on the day of the commencement (April 19), and it will be possible to request a private viewing by writing us at theinstituteforendoticresearch@gmail.com.

Kathy Acker’s writing, and a seminal portrait of her taken by intersex photographer Del LaGrace Volcano, provide a lens through which to explore trans subjectivity and the queering of cinema. Pol Merchan’s hybrid doc fluidly moves from the documentation of the punk era to a more performative exploration of gender.

The portrait entitled Twirl of the punk writer Kathy Acker (New York, 1947 – Tijuana, 1997) is the starting point for a conversation with the photographer Del LaGrace Volcano (California, 1957) about gender identity and body transformation. Kathy Acker’s work was associated with the anti-formalist movement and with the punk movement of the 70s and 80s. Her novels were constructed using the cut-up technique, pastiche, and appropriation, and were inhabited by outlaws, rebels, and pirates. The film uses experts of the novel “Pussy, King of the Pirates” published in 1996 by Grove Press.

Pirate Boys is a hybrid film shot with Super 8 and with a cast formed by transgender, intersex, and genderqueer subjects. The film is set in the Tuntenhaus (House of Faggots), a Berlin squad first occupied in 1981, inhabited by queer men. Searching for queer traces in the form and content of Kathy Acker’s writing, this film aims to present new ways of experiencing the plasticity of the literary and the filmic body. The physical presence of the celluloid is exposed in all its fragility, inviting the viewers to look at the film with a tactile eye.

Pol Merchan (Lleida, Spain, 1980) is an artist, filmmaker, and film programmer for the Xposed Queer Film Festival Berlin. His audio-visual work explores visual semantics and film practices, deconstructing techniques of conventional filmmaking. Merchan uses the camera as an extension of his eye and body, making intimate works that emphasize the body as its own language. Working across film, photography, and text, his art practice addresses transgenerational connections and the archiving of oral history. His film Pirate Boys was supported by the Xposed Queer Short Film Fund and nominated for the LICHTER Art Award, at Lichter Filmfest Frankfurt International. Merchan’s work has been exhibited internationally in art institutions and at numerous Film Festivals such as Museo Reina Sofía Madrid, Centre de Cultura Contemporànea de Barcelona, Centre d’Art La Panera, Azkuna Zentroa, Berlinische Galerie, Institute of Contemporary Arts London, Anthology Film Archives NY, Los Angeles Filmforum, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Festival Internacional de Cine Guanajuato. His work is distributed by Hamaca Media & Video Art and is part of the collection of Leandre Cristòfol Foundation and Museu d’Art Jaume Morera.

The international photographer Del LaGrace Volcano has over a thirty-year period made a consistent subject of gender variance, sexual connectedness, and body mutations. Self named as a ‘part-time gender terrorist,’ and intentional mutation, Volcano’s photography has staged the constructedness of gender and the rich diversity of body morphologies available to those who are really willing to look, in ways that have resonated deeply with—and moreover that have often preceded, influenced and crucially brought together—emerging lesbian, queer, trans and intersex theories. Volcano is exceptional as a photographer and thinker in being concerned to show gender/sex as both highly performative and intimately embodied. Herm’s work has thus spoken across nature/nurture debates in trans, intersex and queer studies. In herm’s own gender journey, gender is not so much transformed as transmogrified as I have argued elsewhere, that is, metamorphosed constantly, its strangeness repeatedly elucidated. More than any other artist, Volcano’s oeuvre has presented queer, trans and intersex people as subjects rather than objects, since images are created through looks of identification, affiliation and desire exchanged between the sitter and the photographer. Volcano has approached photography knowingly as a kind of mirror—a hard plastic surface for identification and love. —Dr. Jay Prosser

Titled Maintenance! Domestics as Institutional Becomings, acknowledging the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles, our series of solo exhibitions and online events for the next months will address the domestic from different vantage points related to institution-making. We are preparing a reader on the topic that will be launched soon as well. During this new program of exhibitions, the previous interventions will remain at TIER. In that way we’ll keep working on the space as an editorial device to be renegotiated, and an ecology of artworks, underlining its conception as an inner garden based on principles of cultivation.

Due to covid restrictions, please register for a visit in advance for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, 14:00-18:00 by emailing us at theinstituteforendoticresearch@gmail.com.

RSVP for the conclusion on June 5 by clicking here

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