THURSDAY 24TH NOVEMBER
7PM – 8.30PM
Screening Masquerades of Research: Part I & II, discussion with Padraig Robinson and invited guest Ruth McCarthy (Artistic Director of Outburst Arts and Outburst Queer Arts Festival), at the Regional Cultural Centre.
The two-part feature film Masquerades of Research: Part I and II, (1 hour 5 min), is a fictional biography of pre-queer sociologist Laud Humphreys, author of the infamous book Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places (1970, 1975). Part I begins in St. Louis in 1967 in a pre-Stonewall and pre-Watergate USA, exploring the impetus behind Humphreys “Sociologist as Voyeur” research method — a still radical gesture and one of the first in the Western canon to turn the ethnographic gaze back onto the hypocritical conservative mindset that created it. Why can’t statistics be avant-garde? Part II begins in his Californian office in 1975, where we find Humphreys sweating in a radically different USA on the cusp of republishing Tearoom Trade. Its relevance to contemporary discussions of intimacy, social presentation and data control is delicately carried by visual intensities and rich performances that keep as many secrets as they give away.
Padraig Robinson (b. Ireland 1985) studied sculpture from 2004–2008 during a time when the image became the defining moment – when the screen altered our socio-political conditions. Since 2011, Robinson’s work has focused on written forms such as books and screenplays, acting on the material conditions of the screen. Time spent in archives is not a politely “retro” activity, rather, the “retrograde pull” of current work is devised as a response to a contemporary moment defined by speculations on the future as a techno-social commodity. The book Gaze Against Imperialism (Metaflux Publishing 2019), was launched as a reading room installation in the exhibition CHROMA, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (December 2019–March 2020). The 2013 newspaper artwork And then he said yes (based on the last word spoken in a film that premiered the same evening the Berlin Wall fell), will be re-issued as an installation in the group exhibition Beyond Walls, Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (November 2020–January 2021). Robinson was a 2019–2020 Visual Arts Fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude.
This is a part of the exhibition and public programme of Swallowing Geography, curated by RCC early career curator-in-residence Rachel Botha.