Life Expectancies: The Body between Exposure and Development

Films by Sandra LAHIRE and Discussion between Elsa RICHARDSON and Kerstin SCHROEDINGER

In the context of the exhibition Looking at the Present through Rear-View Mirrors, artist and Büchsenhausen-Fellow Kerstin Schroedinger will be showing two films – Arrows (UK, 1984) and Plutonium Blonde (UK, 1986) – by British filmmaker Sandra Lahire (1950-2001). This will be followed by a conversation between Elsa Richardson and Kerstin Schroedinger about the production of emotions and the relation between capitalism and feelings, as considered through moments in history that have challenged the relations between the economy, the body, the image and the mind. Kerstin Schroedinger will expand on this with regard to her performance piece The Alleged Body, which is part of the current exhibition at the Kunstpavillon. The Alleged Body looks at the shift from Fordist to immaterial labour during the 1980s. They will talk about the relation between women’s bodies and (mental) health, within the framework of the capitalist production of emotionality relating to British filmmaker Sandra Lahire’s work.


The event will be held with kind support from CINENOVA – Feminist Film and Video Distribution.


Kerstin Schroedinger is an artist working in video, sound and performance. Her historiographic practice questions the means of image production, historical continuities and ideological certainties of representation. Her works and curatorial practice are often collaborative. Recent works include The Alleged Body (performance), shown at Images Festival Toronto, and Les Complices* Zurich in 2017, Fugue (Film, 2015), as well as Rainbow’s Gravity (Video, 2014, GFTA-funded 2013) and Red, she said (Video, 2011) both with Mareike Bernien. Her work has been shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Anthology Film Archives New York, Forum Expanded of Berlinale, Short ٍFilm Festival Oberhausen, International Film Festival Toronto, Gasworks London, Arnolfini Bristol, Whitechapel Gallery London, and exhibited at MIT List Visual Arts Center Boston (2016), Photo Cairo #6 (2017), FMAC Mediathèque Geneva (2016), The School of Kyiv – 2nd Kiev Biennale 2015, Helmhaus Zurich (2015), Kunstpavillion Innsbruck (2017), amongst others.

Sandra Lahire (1950-2001) was a British filmmaker who worked around body-image and the social, material, and economic impacts of (capitalism) on the (female) body and self. The screening shows two of her works, each from a larger work cycle. Arrows (1984) is based on a poem by Sylvia Plath and reflects the continuous negotiation between one’s body, the larger political context and the way that society/the camera frames such a body. Plutonium Blonde (1986) explores the toxic effects of Uranium mining.

Elsa Richardson is a lecturer in the history of medicine at the University of Strathclyde Glasgow, affiliated with the Centre for the History of Health and Healthcare. Amongst other things her research considers the relation of heterodox practices, beliefs and movements to mainstream society and culture, focusing in particular on the interaction between medicine and the imagination, psychology and the occult, emotions and science. Her forthcoming monograph examines the place of extraordinary visionary experience in the Victorian scientific and popular imaginary, and her new research project looks at the history of vegetarianism and narratives of wellbeing in the early twentieth century.


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