Tate Liverpool talks_lectures

Sex: a Keywords lecture with Leo Bersani

Image of Sunil Gupta's Heaven, from the tape-slide project London Gay Switchboard 1980

Sunil Gupta Heaven from the tape-slide project London Gay Switchboard 1980 35 mm colour-slide projection

Courtesy the artist © Sunil Gupta

Join Tate Liverpool and world-renowned literary theorist Leo Bersani for the second in a year-long series of Keywords lectures in Liverpool.

The lecture series is part of Keywords, a collaborative exhibition at Iniva London (27 March – 18 May 2013) and Tate Liverpool (27 February – 11 May 2014) inspired by Raymond Williams’s influential book Keywords – a vocabulary of culture and society (1976). The exhibition expands Williams’s studies of words into three-dimensional form, interrogating and expanding their meaning through art.

Positioned between the exhibitions at Iniva and Tate Liverpool is an ambitious series of lectures by artists, musicians, theorists, novelists and poets which aims to consider which Keywords are of particular relevance for culture and society today. Each speaker has been asked to select and consider a Keyword from Williams’ book that resonates withthem.

In his lecture, Bersani discusses the keyword sex, and the ‘place’ sex holds in our culture. Drawing on the work of Sigmund Freud and the late French theorist Michel Foucault, Bersani confronts psychoanalysis with the imperatives of the body to arrive at a definition of a ‘soma-analysis’. On the evening there will be an opportunity for attendees to actively engage and share their thoughts with the guest speaker and exhibitions curators. Your participation could help to shape the exhibition Keywords at TateLiverpool.

Leo Bersani is Professor Emeritus of French at the University of California, Berkeley specialising in 19th and 20th century art and literature. His writings on sexuality – particularly gay sexualities – psychoanalysis and the visual arts have inspired generations of cultural theorists and activists.

Raymond Williams (1921–1988) was one of the most significant thinkers of the post-war period. After returning from war in 1945, Williams noted that the usage and meanings of everyday words that repeatedly crop up in our discussions of culture and society had changed. These changes fascinated Williams who in 1976 published Keywords – a vocabulary of culture and society – in which he analysed the use and meanings of over a hundredwords.

Please note that this event takes place at LEAF on Water Street, 25 Water Street, Liverpool, Merseyside L2 0RG.

Tate Liverpool

Royal Albert Dock Liverpool
Liverpool L3 4BB
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Date & Time

9 May 2013 at 20.00–21.00