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Inextinguishable Fire / Lover, Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moor

9 Apr (Sun) 2:10pm

Inextinguishable Fire (2007–2015)
26 min, English, Digital, USA

Using techniques borrowed from Hollywood, Inextinguishable Fire is a performance for the camera featuring Cassils engaged in a precarious stunt. The artist experiences the very real human terror of being lit on fire, even as the film makes the stunt’s theatrics clear. Empathy for those experiencing violence, and the privilege of distance from such circumstances, operate simultaneously. The title of the piece references German filmmaker Harun Farocki’s seminal 1969 work, which reflects on the impossibility of effectively representing certain forms of trauma and violence.  

Cassils (Canadian) is an artist and personal trainer who undertakes bodybuilding, stunts, and martial arts to explore violence and resistance from a transgendered perspective. The artist juxtaposes the immediacy of live performance with constructed acts for the camera to interrogate ideas of representation, trauma, and survival. 
Lover, Other: The Story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore (2006)
55 min, English, French, and German with English subtitles, Digital, USA

Collaborators, Surrealists, lovers, stepsisters, and French Resistance fighters, Claude Cahun (1894–1954) and Marcel Moore (1892–1972) created performative portraits that challenged gender and identity politics in Europe between the wars. Born Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe respectively, the women later adopted male pseudonyms. Cahun, who began experimenting with self-portraiture in 1911, is the subject of most of their gender-bending photographs, which were never exhibited during their lifetimes and only came to light in the 1980s.

Barbara Hammer brings this fascinating story to life using photographs, archival footage, a found Cahun script, dramatised footage, and interviews with people who knew them.

Barbara Hammer (American, b.1939) is a visual artist working primarily in film and video. She has made over eighty moving-image works in a career that spans forty years. She is widely considered a pioneer of queer and experimental cinema.

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