The Invisible Archive: Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens (No. 3)
Date Aired/Exhibited: 9/22/2023
City Produced/Published: Berlin
Reference Number: 35712.VO
Acquisition Date: 11/11/2023

The topics of ecosexuality and the roles queer love plays in lineages of art-making are generally under-documented. Add to this the thread of sex-positive feminism and sex worker’s rights, and this essay feels excitingly original. Vogel describes Sprinkle and Stephens’ work in the context of the community that grows up and through them, in a movement towards a relational form of art making. The lines we traditionally draw between activism, high culture, and community work make it hard to discuss this kind of practice, but I think Vogel does a great job. The writing is clear, compelling, and well-structured. The style is sensuous and paints a vivid picture, reusing imagery and symbolism coherently throughout the text. Vogel is admirably reflexive too, examining her own impulses in light of what she has learned from the artists she is documenting. The discussions of conflict within the creative process, with our own habits, and with external forces, were interesting to read about. Like the natural processes the artists center in their work, the conflicts and resolutions of practicing making together, produce the most resilient and beloved fruit.

About the author: Saskia Vogel is the author of Permission (Dialogue Books UK/Coach House Books North America, 2019), which was published in five languages and longlisted for the Believer Book Award. Her writing on pornography was awarded the Berlin Senate Endowment for Non-German Literature and has been published by Granta, Sight&Sound, Literary Hub, Edit, Anuário Todavia, and The Skirt Chronicles. She is also an award-winning literary translator of over 20 Swedish-language books, most recently Johanne Lykke Holm’s novel Strega. In autumn 2022, she was Princeton University's Translator in Residence, working on Linnea Axelsson's multi-generational Sámi epic Aednan, forthcoming with Knopf. Originally from Los Angeles, she lives in Berlin.


about the journal: 

As a creative research journal, The Invisible Archive (TIA) is committed to creating a dialogue that investigates how ideas on performativity and embodiment complicate and inform the conventions under which art is made, shared, and understood. By manifesting new relationships between rigorous writing and the radical nature of time itself, the journal critically documents the unique experiences and knowledge produced by cultural workers and artists who primarily work through performance, time-based strategies, and who use their bodies for social, ecological, and political change. The journal is especially interested in discussing the invisible labor, politics, and challenges attached to practices that are vulnerable due to their ephemeral nature, institutional neglect, cultural bias, or politically unpopular content.

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