In 2012 Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers and La Triennale are inviting the Berlin artists Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz. Their work revisits documents from the past, photographs or films, searching history for erased or illegible “queer” moments. This work presents corpora capable not only of traveling across epochs, but also of imagining links between those epochs, so foreshadowing the possibility of a queer future. Through their films and installations, the artists appropriate historical images to allow a displacement or a skewing of authority and the means that lead to knowledge.

Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz: Toxic, film installation, super 16mm/HD, 20 min., Paris 2012. Performers: Werner Hirsch, Ginger Brooks Takahashi; camera: Bernadette Paassen. Photograph by the artists after Jack Smith's The Secret of Rented Island.
Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Toxic. Photograph by the artists after Jack Smith's The Secret of Rented Island.

These questions are at the heart of their new project Toxic, which takes the form of an installation with film, devised in collaboration with the performers Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Werner Hirsch, and a seminar, presented at Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers as part of the events accompanying La Triennale. The discourse on toxicity installs violent hierarchies between normal and non-normal/queer bodies, between abled bodies and non-abled bodies, between “us” and “strangers”, middle-class bodies and working-class bodies. And what happens if another technology and its history (film camera and images instead of chemical substances) is focused from a perspective of toxicity? While the cinematic apparatus tries to allow for unmediated objectivity and knowledge about “stranger danger” (Sara Ahmed, 2000), it might–as dirty and uncanny by-products–also produce ec/static bodies and queer connections.

Toxic arises from Boudry and Lorenz’s interest in the performances of Jack Smith and the “Theater of the Ridiculous” in the 1960s and 1970s, which formulated an anarchic and outrageous critique of capitalism and normal bodies, by integrating self-referential aspects into his stage shows.


Toxic, film-installation, super 16mm/HD, 13 min., Paris 2012
By: Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz
Werner Hirsch, Ginger Brooks Takahashi
Caméra: Bernadette Paassen
Photographer: Ouidade Soussi Chiadmi


Toxic is co-produced by Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, La Triennale and Electra, in collaboration with the gallery Marcelle Alix, and with the support of the Goethe Institut
Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers are part of the collaborating institutions of La Triennale, which is organized at the initiative of the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication/DGCA, by the Centre national des arts plastiques and the Palais de Tokyo. More information about La Triennale:

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