Running Dog at Verge :: Writing with/ about desire
May 8, 6-8pm
Admission is free

‘Writing with/about desire’ will bring together Enoch Mailangi, Loc Nguyen and Athena Thebus in conversation with Running Dog contributor Em Size to discuss desire, text and creative practice.

Language and desire are often problems that resist our attempts to solve them, and this conversational event will create a time and place for contemplating how and why contemporary artists represent desire with text. The night will give each artist the opportunity to share excerpts of their work, before jointly discussing the art of encountering and representing desire in ways that are intimate, provocative, reparative, subtle, bold, hot, social and solitary.

Topics of discussion may include: how does focusing on desire relate to your politics? How and why do you represent your own body in your practice? Is auto-pornography, or auto-erotica, a thing? Is your body ever your own if audiences read your body as a stand-in for all bodies that look like yours? How do you approach representing—or not representing—the subjects of your desire? What is the relationship between desire and community? Does making work about libidinal facts/fictions turn you on or stress you out? Do you consider selfies and thirst traps to be an extension of your artistic practice? Are you sick of being called ‘brave’?

Enoch Mailangi is an Indigenous and Polynesian writer and text-based artist. Their work focuses on three main ideas: who Indigenous characters are on screen when they’re not busy responding to whiteness, Blak Mediocrity as a legitimate tool against the dangers of Blak Excellence, and celebrity culture as a vehicle of colonisation. Their works explore larger themes of desire and shame.

Loc Nguyen is an artist, activist and advocate interested in exploring creative, productive and diverse ways of critiquing and changing the whitewashed spaces of homoeroticism. Focusing on video, image and performance in their artistic practice, in 2018 they performed in a PACT Salon and PACT x Performance Space’s Queer Nu Werk, as well as presenting a solo exhibition of docu-porn at Firstdraft. Their curatorial practice most recently saw them curate an extensive night of performance for Kudos Live: Ritual Bodies, on site at the Flinders Hotel.

Athena Thebus is a contemporary artist whose practice tells stories of Desire and Pleasure. Using several mediums in chorus, her works have incorporated tattoo, studded leather, neon lights, holes in walls, and burning blankets. These are held together by impressions of a celestial Catholicism as influenced by her Filipina heritage, but from the position of the damned. Athena is guided by the force of Desire, pursuing a path of pleasure that is often of an unrecognisable shape. Her practice offers to light a way, with an intentionality that is Filipina, oceanic, and diasporic within the neo-colonial context of Australia.

Em Size is interested in laughing and being laughed at, flirting and being flirted with, and loving and being loved. They’re currently trying to bring back Jim Carrey’s arse-related physical comedy in a big (queer) way; write a response to Jordy Rosenberg’s The Daddy Dialectic called The Daddy Diorama; and start a lucrative career writing erotica. If you think any part of this bio is a joke then you obviously haven’t met me, I resent you, and I wholeheartedly (with a wink, a tap of the foot, and a nod to Legally Blonde), object.

Image: Loc Nguyen, No Hurt, No Scar (Install Shot, Firstdraft) 2018. Photo: Zan Wimberley.

Verge Gallery is excited to be partnering with Running Dog in 2019, presenting several events across the year. These events will expand on Running Dog and Verge Gallery’s commitment to fostering critical dialogue around creative practice and engaging with audiences. Survival of the Critic: Arts Writing in 2019 is the first of these events and is curated by Running Dog’s founding editor Naomi Riddle.

Running Dog is an online arts platform that publishes weekly articles about exhibitions and events taking place in Sydney and regional New South Wales. Running Dog is committed to covering the work of emerging and established artists through circulating regular content about artist run spaces, collectives, commercial galleries, institutions, one-off events and festivals.