UNRELIABLE NARRATOR is a podcast which sits alongside the exhibition A FIRE IN MY BELLY at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin. Hosted by Lisa Long and Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, it features interviews, conversations and poetry readings with the various artists, writers, and interlocutors of A FIRE IN MY BELLY. The podcast extends upon the exhibition’s premise of how artists address the foundations and effects of systemic violence on bodies, and how these experiences are transformed into artistic gestures.
In this episode of UNRELIABLE NARRATOR, Lisa Long and Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung speak with the artist P. Staff, whose video work Weed Killer (2017) is on view in A FIRE IN MY BELLY at JSC Berlin. Here, P. sheds light on the “unruly kinship” subsisting between illness (in particular, that of cancer) and the trans experience, and how narratives of the body can be perverted or leave realms of signification. Lifting passages from Catherine Lord’s 2004 memoir The Summer of Her Baldness—which documents her experience with breast cancer and chemotherapy—and turning these into Weed Killer’s script, P. illuminates larger questions to do with the relationship between decaying bodies and hostile environments.
This episode marks the first of four poetry readings on UNRELIABLE NARRATOR. We invited the artist Jesse Darling to read a few poems of their own choosing, in dialogue with the poetry already included A FIRE IN MY BELLY. In this episode, they will be reading three poems: first, a fragment from Brendan Joyce’s “five from Unemployment Insurance”, then C.D. Wright’s Flame which is reprinted as a wall vinyl in the A FIRE IN MY BELLY exhibition space, and Franny Choi’s The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On. Introduced by Eugene Yiu Nam Cheung, curatorial assistant of A FIRE IN MY BELLY and the Julia Stoschek Collection.
In this episode curator Lisa Long speaks with artist Marianna Simnett, whose installation Faint with Light (2016) in on loan and view in A FIRE IN MY BELLY at JSC Berlin. In their conversation, they dive into the possible and impossible spaces of empathy afforded by the work, an experience Orit Gat has described as “stressful, painful, regretful, almost impossible to look at—and empathetic as anything can be.” Long and Simnett also discuss the importance of abstraction as a means of refusing representation, surrender as a politics of the everyday, and the moving image as a type of operating theater.
This episode of UNRELIABLE NARRATOR features Lisa Long — curator of the Julia Stoschek Collection — in conversation with the artist Sophia Al-Maria, whose video work Beast Type Song (2019) is included in A FIRE IN MY BELLY. Here, Long and Al-Maria speak about the postcolonial resonances of Sycorax in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the potentials of overcoming speechlessness, and how the past can instruct a future that we cannot yet see.