Post Modern Classicisms Dialogue, Part Two: Transgressing Subjects

Dear Jessica,

How are you? I can’t wait to hear all about the workshop yesterday. We’re having a great time in Cleveland and I’m writing this from the Great Lakes Brewery, while sipping their pale ale Burning River. I’ll have to make it quick. You tell me that you were joined on your panel by the filmmaker Ursula Mayer, who won the Derek Jarman Award for experimental film in 2014. You said that you’d been watching her film Medea, which you described as a powerful reinterpretation of the myth, and in some ways a response to (or extension of?) Pasolini’s film of the same name. Did you talk to her about how the film challenges binary constructions of gender identity? And, as you put it to me, how, in turn, it resonates with the temporal collapsing of past and present? Did you share with Mayer, in the eloquent way you described it to me, how you:

loved the way that the film meditated upon materiality and ritual (large glass earrings full of amber liquid, decaying frescoes on stone cave walls).

When you told me that the characters of Jason and Medea are played by the same actor, JD Samson, I went off and listened to some Le Tigre.

You can see JD in their video to TKO

Although perhaps their video to Deceptacon is more appropriate to the our present discussion:

It also made me think of the recent Eidolon article The Body in Question: Looking At Non-Binary Gender in the Greek and Roman World by Grace Gillies. The problem was their discussion of the sculpture Sleeping Hermaphroditus in Rome, brought me back to my favorite topic – Classical sculpture!

I think I shared with you my Minus Plato post from a few days ago about photography and sculpture (here it is again just in case I didn’t). In it I describe the work of Sara VanDerBeek and Barry X Ball who use photography to engage with ancient sculpture. Here is a photograph of Barry X Ball’s Sleeping Hermaphrodite, 2008 – 2010. How do you feel this work transforms the ancient sculpture? Does it add any further resonances with Gillies’ argument?

Sorry, that’s all for now. I hope you’re relaxing after all the excitement of yesterday.



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