I have been invited to participate in a session at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London in May, in conjunction with their retrospective exhibition Bernadette Corporation: 2000 Wasted Years. Although in many ways very different from either Goldin+Senneby or from Headless, there are common themes. Bernadette Corporation is an artists’ collective that emerged from the New York party and fashion scene in the 1990s, and has developed a wide variety of projects, with a range of participants ever since. The deliberate invocation of the corporate world is one obvious similarity with Headless, but even more so, perhaps, is BC’s collectively written novel, Reena Spaulings. Claimed to have been written by 150 anonymous writers, and taking the name of its central character from a famous New York contemporary art gallery, BC’s mulitextual novel plays around with ideas of authorship, art, embodiment and authenticity in ways that have strong resonances with G+S’ Looking for Headless. There is an interesting review of Reena Spaulings by media theorist and activist McKenzie Wark here: Indestructible Life.
Looking for Headless itself (the novelised version of the Headless project) has yet to be published in full, though I know that G+S are talking to publishers. Various sections, at various stages of development have appeared over the past few years in association with G+S exhibitions and a version of the final chapter appears in Body/State which I published with co-editors Jen Dickinson and Nichola Smith earlier this year.
Although I’ll mainly be discussing Headless, there are all sorts of interesting overlaps and contrasts with BC for me to explore.