One of the most militant literary punk provocateurs of today is coming to Art Cinema OFFoff. Together with bookstore Paard van Troje and the Everything UK festival, we welcome the writer and filmmaker Stewart Home who has been terrorising and embarrassing the British literary world with his literary-pornographic oeuvre since 1989.
Poet Arno Van Vlierberghe – a former OFFoff regular in our Moving Word cycle (2015−2019) – will talk with Stewart Home about his new novel Art School Orgy (2023, New Reality Records). No publisher would touch it, and so the book was eventually released by a record label. The fact that the young protagonist bears the name David Hockney and is a perverted sex addict might have something to do with it.
Stewart Home’s unusual approach to writing is reflected in the readings he gives from his novels: he recites from memory, utilises ventriloquism, stands on his head and declaims his work or even shreds his own books.
Stewart Home has been making films since the early 1980s. During a week-long residency in 2002, he realized three feature-length films which emerged from his fascination with the avant-garde Lettrist cinema of the early fifties in France and their technique of détournement. He made an English-language color remake of Guy Debord’s Hurlements en faveur de Sade (1952), as well as looser recreations of that other Lettrist classic from the same year, Le Film est déjà commencé ? by Maurice Lemaître, and the later Situationist film La Dialectique peut-elle casser des briques ? (1973) by Réné Viénét. In Ut Pictura Poesis, Home already in the late 1990s attempted to distill these Lettrist experiments of Debord, Lemaître, but also Gil Wolman (L’Anticoncept, 1951), into 45 seconds. He further explored the same area but depended less on an original to copy with The Eclipse & Re-Emergence of the Oedipus Complex (2004). In the film, the avant-garde obsession with death interweaves with reflections on the life and death of his mother. At the same time, Eclipse attempts to draw out the ways in which the avant-garde Lettrist cinema was commercialized in the later work of Jean-Luc Godard, Chris Marker and Alain Resnais. The format of Eclipse was utilised in later works with multi-voice dissociated image and soundtracks such as Re-Enter the Dragon (2016) – about which he also wrote the 2018 book Bruceploitation and the Sleazy Joys of Lowbrow Cinema – and Bondage as Theme & Technique (2019), which Home selected for this evening (see below).
“I’ve always liked film and I’ve always tried to work in a lot of different media: fiction and criticism, graphics, gallery installation, performance etc. These boundaries don’t hold up so well for me, they’re all artificial and what I do always ends up crossing them, and I think film often gives you the best of many worlds. I don’t think I’ve exhausted fiction or criticism but film enables me to do this another way.”
“There aren’t so many contemporary filmmakers who I admire; I tend to like older modernist cinema: Jean Cocteau, Ingmar Bergman, Sergei Eisenstein, as well as a lot of trash movie directors ranging from Jess Franco to Coffin Joe, Jean Rollin and Lucio Fulci, especially A Cat in the Brain (1990).”
— Stewart Home
Later in the evening, Stewart Home will drop by at the concert at Trefpunt, where Ghent punk band The Rats invited the British indie pop trio Pozi. To accompany his new novel Art School Orgy, Stewart Home also put together a BDSM- and fetish-themed playlist on Spotify.