The suppression and murder of witches, in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, with its smashing of women’s solidarity, crushing of female bodies and feminine bodies of knowledge and forcing of female sexualities into the bounds of familial reproduction, was perhaps the first moment of primitive accumulation. Capitalism is built on the bones of the witch, her magic the first threat against capitalist rationalization, her unbounded sexuality the first enemy of capitalism’s territorialized desires.
“Movie magic”, we are taught, is nothing more than an expensive trick, the deployment of psychological and visual effects to mystify us about the real modes of meaning production occurring on the flickering screen. But the cliché is built on a truth: there is a magic in movies. What subversive power could be unleashed by the full cinematic deployment of magic? Of unleashing the ancient resistance embodied in witchcraft, trance, sorcery or voodoo?
Maya Deren was a witch. Kenneth Anger was a wizard. In New Inquiry and Spectacle Theater’s ongoing series, Film as a Subversive Art, we’ve been looking at movies culled from Amos Vogel’s book of the same name. This month, we’ll be diving into his section titled “Trance and Witchcraft.”
Can movies be infused with the explosive, revolutionary power of magic? Can such excess and unreason be deployed in the struggle against all forms of domination? What do we do when we unearth these histories and techniques? When we see them on the screen?
Join us for a night of gender dissolution, bodily excess, sublime violence, magic, witchcraft and sorcery. With introductions by New Inquiry editor Willie Osterweil and members of the Anti-Banality Union, makers of Police Mortality.
Monday, March 25
124 S. 3rd st