This issue of Framework, 60.2, is directed, in many ways, by the personal voice—the voice that speaks loudly in art and the voice that speaks loudly in culture, even if the culture seems to be trying to suppress it. These Framework 60.2 papers, while connecting new subjects and bringing new context to established histories, also are making connections through how they address their subjects. Their subjects are examined with a personal voice by the authors.
The two pieces in the dossier, On the Art of Performance Art, Stephen Kenyon-Owen's "Choking on the Splinters: Art, the Body, and Processes of Adaptation in the Work of Tom de Freston" and Laurel Carpenter's "I Live in This Dress: Materiality and Identity in Visual Art Performance," are about the performance of art, the use of images in personal expression, and the ways in which images convey a deeper, suppressed story. Though coming at the topic from seemingly different angles, Kenyon-Owen's scholar's approach and Carpenter's approach as the artist herself, both look at the use of surface (as an end) as untenable, finding it a to-be-broken substance, and both convey these difficult to reach ideas as a personal experience. Their poetic exploration of the work, as something that is understood fluidly by the perceiving viewer who is also fluid, is an interactive explanation of both de Freston's work and Carpenter's work. They examine art as a moving surface.
This moving surface is central to installation artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien and his collaborator Mark Nash, who are interviewed by programmer Melissa Lyde, discussing Julien's current work: a ten-screen video installation, Lessons of the Hour—Frederick Douglass, which opened in New York in 2019, while also [End Page 147] marking the premiere of the restoration of Julien's iconic 1995 Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Masks.
Kiki Loveday's challenging argument, "Sister Acts: Victorian Porn, Lesbian Drag, and Queer Reproduction," on the centralized presence of lesbians in American and European nineteenth- and twentieth-century cultures, begins with a focus on Olga Nethersole, the British stage superstar, who was arrested in America for indecency regarding her 1900 hit play, Sapho. Loveday notes how the central lesbian presence of this case had already appeared in such seemingly unusual examples as popular nineteenth-century Staffordshire figures and would continue to appear in the twentieth century in, for example, the physical love displayed between the two sisters—acted by real-life sisters Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish—caught in the French Revolution in D. W. Griffith's Orphans of the Storm (US, 1921).
Jimmy Weaver, in "Sirens and Flames: The Short Films of João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra da Mata," re-approaches, in Framework's New Looks section, the mesmerizing qualities of the inventive films of Portuguese filmmakers João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata, and sets the concept of a film's being able to "gesture towards what is not there" in the context of new Portuguese cinema. [End Page 148]