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Gender as Performance Artist

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge + Jesse Prinz

Friday, February 13, 2015
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

Psychologist and philosopher Jesse Prinz explores plasticity of the self with avant-garde performance art and underground legend Genesis Breyer P-Orridge. Who are we really? Are we made, biologically determined, or constructed?

About the Speakers

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has created a remarkable body of work that constantly walks the line between the dangerous and the essential. For P-Orridge artistic integrity demands that you live by what you believe in. P-Orridge first achieved recognition with the 1969 founding of COUM Transmissions, a confrontational and transgressive performance collective, which was later transformed into the band Throbbing Gristle. William S. Burroughs introduced him to the poet, performer and artist Brion Gysin which marked the beginning of an influential collaboration focused on experimenting with the “cut-up” technique (a Dadaist practice that would influence P-Orridge throughout his career). P-Orridge’s Mail Art caused him to be the first British citizen to have been exiled in a century. In the US, P-Orridge met the performance artist Lady Jaye Breyer. The couple experimented with the cut-up method, fusing their identities through plastic surgery, hormonal therapy and cross-dressing, so as to resemble each other as much as possible and to produce a single “pandrogynous” character: a work of art in its own right. Their project, and the death of Lady Jaye in 2007, was documented in Marie Losier’s documentary The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye. The project continues with Genesis embodying the entirety of Breyer P-Orridge. Genesis P-Orridge and Breyer P-Orridge have exhibited internationally, including recent exhibitions at Deitch Projects, Mass MOCA, Centre Pompidou, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Barbican Museum, the Swiss Institute and White Columns.

Jesse Prinz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. His research focuses on the perceptual, emotional, and cultural foundations of human psychology. He is author of Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perception Basis (MIT, 2002), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Oxford, 2004), The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford), Beyond Human Nature: How Culture and Experience Shape Our Lives (Penguin/Norton, 2011), and The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience (issued in paperback this March), with another title, Works of Wonder: The Psychology and Ontology of Art (Oxford), in progress. This is his third appearance at the Rubin.

Tickets: $20.00
Member price: $18.00