Skip to page Content.



Asian American Visual Cultures series

(dir. Valie Export, 1976), 102 min.

Presented and followed by a conversation with novelist Hari Kunzru

When: 6.30pm, Tuesday, 3 November 2009
Where: Room 471, 20 Cooper Square (Bowery and East 5th) — FREE AND OPEN TO PUBLIC

“We don’t have witches now.  We live in a modern time.  But if we want witches, we must take Valie Export and burn her.” (Austrian tabloid, 1976)

By 1976, Valie Export (b.1940), a singular Austrian artist in an era already abounding with form-expanding transgressors such as Kurt Kren, Peter Kubelka and the Aktionist Otto Muhl, was already known in art circles for her diverse body of work that explored the relationship between feminism, mediamatics and psychogeography.  In 1968, she had built a mini-movie theatre which she wore over her bare chest and, walking event_55.jpgthrough crowded city streets, would invite pedestrians to reach through the doors of the theatre and touch her breasts.

In INVISIBLE ADVERSARIES, she went further, creating one of the most extraordinary science fiction films of the 1970s, akin to Monique Wittig and Jean Luc Godard collaborating on a remake of ‘The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers’, as out-there as Sun Ra’s ‘Space Is The Place’.  It chronicles a year in the life of a young Viennese photographer called Anna who is convinced that she has had been invaded by a hostile alien force called ‘Hyksos’ (named after an Asiatic tribe that moved into the Egyptian empire before vanishing without a trace) who she believes are also responsible for the entropy and decay outside her apartment.  What results is a sonically-complex, montage-rich, darkly funny and uriniferous cornerstone of avant-garde cinema that also doubles as a testimonial to the potentiality and pitfalls of ‘radical paranoia’.

The screening will be presented by award-winning novelist Hari Kunzru, author of ‘The Impressionist’ (2003), ‘Transmission’ (2004), and ‘My Revolutions’ (2007).  In 2003, he was named by ‘Granta’ as one of twenty ‘Best Young British Novelists’.  As a journalist, he was named ‘The Observer’ Young Travel Writer of the Year in 1999.  From 1999-2004 he was music editor of Wallpaper* magazine.  Since 1995 he has been a contributing editor to Mute, the culture and technology magazine. 

He is Deputy President of English PEN, and currently lives in New York where, until recently, he was a Fellow at the New York Public Library’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.