Kathy Acker and Peter Wollen; ICA, London; 8/5/86

Kathy Acker (1947-1997) was an American avant-garde punk novelist and performance artist. Appropriating the 'cut-up' technique of using found material to arrange texts, her body of work referenced William Burroughs, Gilles Deleuze and Fluxus. Acker became a cult figure of the New York punk scene, publishing her best-regarded work in the 1970s and 1980s. 'Blood and Guts in High School' (1978) and 'Great Expectations' (1982) are unrelenting confrontations of tabooed gender issues such as abortion, rape and incest. In this recording, Acker talks about plagiarism techniques and her new book 'Don Quixote: Which Was a Dream' (1986) which was instigated as a coping mechanism after undergoing an abortion.

Acker is in conversation with Peter Wollen, film theorist and political journalist who wrote 'Signs and Meaning in the Cinema' (1969) and who pioneered the use of structuralism and semiotics in the field of cultural analysis.

Wollen and Acker draw out the complexities of who is speaking through whom in 'Don Quixote', a triangulation of relations between Acker, Cervantes and the novel. Acker's critical goal is to decentralise the ownership of authorship.


Accession No. WAA.058
Artist: Kathy Acker and Peter Wollen
Container annotation: New book 'Don Quixote'
Place/Year: ICA, London 8/5/86
Type: Round table discussion
Release status: CC BY-NC-SA (Individual)
Technical aspects: Clear sound
Duration: 01:02:48
Tape capacity: 90'
Tape brand: Sony