Workshop at ICI-Berlin on “Intimacy, Loss, Anonymity”

Here is the full description/announcement of a workshop I will be doing at the ICI-Berlin on 22 June 2017, 18:00-20:00
Intimacy, Loss, Anonymity: Toward a Theory of Queer Neutrality

For the past 20 years, beginning with “Disappeared” the exhibition he curated on AIDS and an aesthetics of disappearance (Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, 1996), John Paul Ricco’s work has been dedicated to theorizing erotic and aesthetic relations to loss, retreat, and withdrawal at specific conjunctures of late-20th-century gay male culture and contemporary art and film. Out of this he has argued that anonymity is an irreducible relational form of the ethical—including in terms of social and sexual intimacy.

In this workshop, Ricco will present a paper, “Mourning, Melancholia, Moonlight” a work-in-progress on “neutral affect” that is part of his ongoing conceptualization of queer neutrality. In a chapter of his recent book, The Decision Between Us, Ricco read Roland Barthes as someone engaged—in his “mourning diary,” his lectures on the Neutral, and in his last book Camera Lucida—in “neutral mourning.” In this current paper, Ricco turns his attention to Barry Jenkins’ film Moonlight (2016) and its presentation of an affective relation to loss that is distinct in its temporality from Freud’s mourning and melancholia. By attending to the empirical contingency of the extemporaneous and erotic/aesthetic moment as the scene of feeling queer, Ricco is interested in thinking a time of the affects that disrupts neo-liberal scripts of self-becoming and what is commonly referred to as an “event.” In addition, Ricco attends to the nuanced images of black masculinity that—he argues—are not adequately rendered by prevailing gender performative readings of the film.

Two recently published essays: “Intimacy: Inseparable from Separation” (Open Set, May 2017) and “The Commerce of Anonymity” (Qui Parle, June 2017), along with Jacques Khalip’s “Of Queer Neutrality” (a review of The Decision Between Us), will provide further context for this current work, and also will be pre-circulated and discussed. 
In English

For further details and to register for the free workshop, go to:

I want to thank Peter Rehberg for organizing this workshop, and Claudia Peppel and the staff at the ICI for all of their support in hosting this event. 

This is part of my project on “The Risks and Pleasures of Bodily Abandonment and Freedom,” generously supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant. 

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