The Labyrinth centres on a series of presentations from scholars and those engaged with maintaining and furthering the legacy of Acker’s work, extending her lines of thought from artistic, literary and theoretical perspectives. Drawing on close textual readings, the symposium considers Acker’s output – and its relationship to other literary histories – as an engine for new relations, ideas and possibilities.
The spatial movement through knowledge and language – from philosopher George Bataille’s figure of the labyrinth to artist Alison Knowles’ The Big Book – plays a key role in presentations that also consider Acker’s approach to identity, myth, mysticism, gender and sexuality. The symposium features contributions from scholar Georgina Colby, writer Claire Finch, curator of the Kathy Acker Reading Room Daniel Schulz, and artist and writer Matias Viegener. Following individual presentations, a group discussion will be led by writer and critical theorist Isabel Waidner.
Georgina Colby is the editor of Reading Experimental Writing (Edinburgh University Press, 2019), the author of Kathy Acker: Writing the Impossible (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), and has published widely in the field of modern and contemporary avant-garde writing and feminisms. She leads the BA/Leverhulme project Feminist Representations and is the Founder and Director of S A L O N - LONDON. She is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Westminster.
Claire Finch is a writer and researcher based in Paris. Her hybrid practice focuses on queer poetic protocols and their possible links with feminist activism. She works primarily through her PhD research in Gender Studies at the University of Paris 8, her performative readings (Festival Extra!, Centre Pompidou; Le Magasin CNAC, Grenoble; Mimosa House, London), and her literary piracy workshops (Khiasma, Les Lilas; EBABX School of Fine Arts, Bordeaux). She is a touring member of the Paris-based queer, dyke, non-binary and trans author’s collective RERQ.
Daniel Schulz is a German-American writer, based in Cologne. He has published Schrei (2016), a collection of short stories, and texts in magazines and journals including ‘Thoughts on Jeanne Duval’ in The Transnational (2018). In 2015, he directed the play Humanity Incorporated at the fünfzehnminuten festival in Cologne and the 100° Festival in Berlin. In 2017, he undertook the inventory of Kathy Acker’s personal library at the University of Cologne, which he has since been curating.
Matias Viegener is a writer, artist and critic in the fields of writing, visual art and social practice. As literary executor for Kathy Acker, Viegener has written and lectured extensively on her work, including editing her correspondence with McKenzie Wark for the book I’m Very into You (Semiotext(e), 2015). His work, both solo and in the collaborative Fallen Fruit, has been exhibited widely internationally, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum. He is the author of 2500 Random Things About Me Too, a book of experimental non-fiction, hailed as the first book written through Facebook, and the editor and co-translator of Georges Bataille’s The Trial of Gilles de Rais. He teaches at CalArts and is the recipient of a 2013 Creative Capital Grant.
Isabel Waidner is a writer and cultural theorist. Their books include We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff
(2019), Gaudy Bauble
(2017) and Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature
(ed., 2018), published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe. They are the co-curator of the event series Queers Read This
at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (with Richard Porter), and a lecturer at University of Roehampton, London.