'Daisies (Sedmikrsky)', still, 1966, directed by V?ra Chytilov. Sick Sick Sick, MAP 2013
‘Daisies (Sedmikrásky)’, still, 1966, directed by Vĕra Chytilová

This project will occupy, and develop by way of, three intersecting platforms. Our intention is to attend to the online Alt-Lit scene’s already established multifaceted modes of reading and writing and fractured ways of receiving and disseminating ideas. The project can be contacted at readers@mapmagazine.co.uk

1 An Open Reading GroupCCA Clubroom, every 6-8 weeks
Twitter @sick_readers

Introductory meeting: CCA Cinema, Glasgow, 6—7pm, Thursday 14 November 2013

Followed by a screening of Vĕra Chytilová‘s Daisies (Sedmikrásky ), 1966, 7:30pm, £3 (free to reading group members)

Our readings will contrast the work of new female writers emerging from the online Alt-Lit scene with the late nineties Semiotext(e) ‘Native Agents’ publications under the editorial directorship of Chris Kraus*, in addition to recuperating earlier women’s literature such a The Yellow Wallpaper, 1892, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. We seek to explore tensions between language, sociology, subjectivity and power-relations, their impact upon gender and the ways in which they take form in the text. As readers, we have the opportunity to revive inherited post-structuralist feminist (and their questionably excessive) ideals, bringing them to contemporary radical subjective writings to address how gendered language can disrupt expected hierarchical sequences or to what extent it can reproduce them.

Kate Zambreno, 'Heroines', 2013, Semiotext(e)
Kate Zambreno, ‘Heroines’, 2013, Semiotext(e)

We begin with Kate Zambreno’s Heroines, 2012. A limited number of books will be supplied free of charge with the generous and kind support of The MIT Press.

It must be illness, this violence. No other way to explain losing one’s shit.

Zambreno’s defiant confessional novel collages literary criticism and autobiography to parade issues of excess and deal with the position of the female writer in relation to her male counterpart, often her husband. She surveys the medicalisation and institutionalisation of the ‘mad wives of modernism’: Zelda Fitzgerald, Simone Weil, Frances Farmer and others, and reflects on her own choices and personal marginalisation as someone who is a wife (vs. someone who is ‘wifed’) and a writer. We are very pleased to announce that Kate Zambreno will be reading a selected passage from her book on MAP. This will be available online from 14 November, 2013.

Daisies, (Sedmikrásky ), 1966, is a Czech surrealist slapstick film, written and directed by Věra Chytilová. The plot follows two young women, Marie I and Marie II, in their carnivalesque disruption of the hierarchical systems that organise their world. Their out-of-the-norm (‘deranged’) behaviour exhibits women as messy and chaotic as they joyfully devour and revolt against silence, submission and feminine delicacy. Experimentally filmed, and released during the Cold War, the film was labelled as ‘depicting the wanton’ by Czech authorities and banned. Chytilová was subsequently silenced and forbidden to work in Czechoslovakia until 1975. The film was rereleased in 2009. This will be the first screening of Daisies in Scotland. Daisies is distributed by Second Run.

2 A Peripatetic Reading Workshop

The project and a selected ‘reader/s’ will travel to alternating institutions /sites outside Glasgow. The stations and participants will be decided by the group. This part of the project will allow us to apply a variety of academic and artistic modes of inquiry according to chosen books. Through investigating the core readings in our reading group, a subsequent expanded syllabus will be developed exploring concepts and modes of practice such as Écriture Féminine .

3 A Series of Responsive Reading Events

A programme of events responding to both authors and core texts will accompany the reading group. Some will be initiated from within the project, but outside proposals (up to 500 words, rolling deadline) are invited for reading, performance or screening events.

Contact readers@mapmagazine.co.uk for further information, to make comment, or to submit proposals.

* This group takes its starting point from the N+1 article ‘Female Trouble’ by Elizabeth Gumport, Issue 13 ‘Machine Politics’, originally published February, 2012:

The real threats are artists who refuse to stop there—who move from confession, which describes a situation, to analysis, which seeks to explain it. If someone foolishly insists on making his—or her—life known, institutions have words for discrediting it. This candidate can’t be admitted. As Kraus declared in her Video Green:

I think that ‘privacy’ is to contemporary female art what ‘obscenity’ was to male art and literature of the 1960s. The willingness of someone to use her life as primary material is still deeply disturbing, and even more so if she views her own experience at some remove. There is no problem with female confession providing it is made within a repentant therapeutic narrative. But to examine things coolly, to thrust experience out of one’s own brain and put it on the table, is still too confrontational. ’ http://nplusonemag.com/female-trouble

Our title is borrowed from Kate Zambreno’s Heroines : ‘The voices, the voices worm through: Sick Sick Sick ’, pp.254, 2012, Semiotext(e)

This project is kindly supported by The MIT Press