Created by Tim Smith-Stewart | Jeffrey Azevedo, The Perpetual Insurrection of Claude Cahun is a performative reading of Ryan Helterbrand’s work on the queer Surrealist artist and activist Claude Cahun. It centers the anti-Nazi resistance movement and poetic tactics Cahun organized with her partner Suzanne Malherbe from 1940 to 1944 on the Channel Island of Jersey under the name of “the Nameless Soldiers.” This performative reading is intended to reclaim Cahun’s all-but-erased campaign of covert anti-fascist insurrection and sabotage. It features performers Fenja Abrams, Grace Orr, and Sierra Hendrix who will recite excerpts of Helterbrand’s writing while performing a tightly choreographed physical score created in collaboration with Alyza DelPan-Monley.
Following the performative reading, Nina Bozicnik, associate curator, will facilitate a conversation with Helterbrand on his research of Claude Cahun and her engagement with avant-garde aesthetics and revolutionary politics.
Tim Smith-Stewart | Jeffrey Azevedo are a Seattle based performance/visual art duo that utilizes text as their primary medium for creating performances and installations. The Perpetual Insurrection of Claude Cahun is a companion piece to Awaiting Oblivion—Temporary Solutions for surviving the dystopian future we find ourselves within at present, which premiered at On the Boards in February 2017. They have presented their work at the NW New Works Festival in Seattle; the Risk/Reward Festival in Portland, Oregon; and Fresh Oysters Performance Research in Minneapolis, Minnesota, among others.
Ryan Helterbrand currently teaches literature at the University of Washington and writes on modernism, the avant-garde and critical theory. His current book project, A Multiple Always: The Perpetual Insurrection of Claude Cahun, traces Cahun’s cultural activism with the nascent homosexual-rights community in the 1920s, her political and theoretical work with the Surrealists in the 1930s, and her anti-Nazi resistance activities in the 1940s.