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In the Evening There is Feeling: Reading Isabel Waidner

#PatrickStaff

In the Evening There is Feeling is DCA’s Exhibitions reading group. It takes its name from Gertrude Stein’s 1914 book Tender Buttons and focuses, in an informal and welcoming way, on feminist and/or queer texts from the worlds of art and literature.

This session will introduce and discuss some of the ideas contained within a new text written by Isabel Waidner in response to Patrick Staff’s new work in the galleries.

We will also be reading and discussing an excerpt from their latest novel We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff: an innovative and critically British novel, taking issue with the dream of national belonging. Set on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England, it collides literary aesthetics with contemporary working class cultures and attitudes (B.S. Johnson and Reebok classics), works with themes of empire, embodiment and resistance, and interrogates autobiographical material including the queer migrant experience.

We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff evokes a topsy-turvy, highly animated world to explore a declining empire’s hopelessly fucked up inequities of class, race, queerness, and immigration status. At one point the narrator (who looks like Eleven from Stranger Things but who happens to be 36) blurts out, ‘Where’s reality, I want to change it.’ This is one of the saddest lines I’ve ever read, perfectly rearticulating the ‘no there there’ anxiety that Gertrude Stein attributed to modern life a century ago.” Dodie Bellamy

Digital copies of selected texts will be available and sent out to all participants upon booking a place.

About Isabel Waidner:

Isabel Waidner is a writer and cultural theorist. Their books include We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff (2019), Gaudy Bauble (2017) and Liberating the Canon: An Anthology of Innovative Literature (ed., 2018), published by Dostoyevsky Wannabe. They are the co-curator of the event series Queers Read This at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (with Richard Porter), and a lecturer at University of Roehampton, London.