The Department of Sexual Revolutions Studies: workshop - Workshop introduction

Foto: logo DSRS

The Department of Sexual Revolutions Studies: workshop Workshop introduction

Curator: Nick Aikens
workshop about the revolution of sexuality  


Week one - Introduction

The sessions begin by looking at a work currently on show in the Van Abbemusem Collection Display - New Sexual Lifestyles (2003), by Gerard Byrne. This multi channel video installation restages a panel discussion from a 1973 copy of Playboy magazine between experts of the sexual revolution - swingers, sex workers, psychologists, and pornographers. The Playboy ‘ symposium on emerging behaviour patterns, from open marriage to group sex’ is reenacted by Irish actors, setting up a contrast between the cultural contexts of both texts. The work sets us up for a conversation on the key thematics of the talks series, which will be approached each week on the level of the sexual, the political, the emotional, and the epistemological.

The Department of Sexual Revolutions Studies

The Department of Sexual Revolutions Studies is a collaboration between the Van Abbemuseum and the Design Academy Eindhoven, lead by Eimear Walshe as part of the Deviant Practice Research Programme. The department is a new learning platform invested in critical enquiry on the subject of sexual revolution in art, design and visual culture. The public are invited to join the five weekly sessions at the Van Abbemuseum.

Combining the interests and methodologies of queer theory and gender studies, it also seeks to emphasise the legacy of sexual revolution outside of Europe and America. Rather than a focus solely on the liberalisation of attitudes around sexual practices, it will look at examples of antagonism, transgression, inversion and repression as moments which reveal power and inequality. The department has a particular interest in strategies which wield sexuality as a force for social change, from ‘sex strikes’ to ‘kiss-ins’, whether through the power of its visibility, or the threat of its absence. In each session we will ask: how can contemporary sexual practices help us to better understand the relationship between sexuality and society today, including issues such as politics, housing, and technology?

Every Friday in November at 14.00 pm, the talks will take place in a different space in the Van Abbemuseum. On arrival you can enquire at reception for directions to each session. 

Spaces are free but please reserve through the booking forms.

Below an overview of the other four workshops. For more information, click on the link.
Workshop 2: Cuck
Workshop 3: Kink
Workshop 4: Bunk
Workshop 5: Hook