Intimacy of Death, Pt 1: Juliet Jacques, You Will Be Free, 201730th October 2020
This week we’re bringing you the first of a two-parter on death and dying. I’m very excited to present You Will Be Free, a 2017 short film by author, artist and activist Juliet Jacques. Jacques made this piece in response to works by two of my (Rosa’s) favourite artists from the 1980s New York underground, Cookie Mueller and Vittorio Scarpati (it was first exhibited alongside their joint exhibition Putti's Pudding at Studio Voltaire). Mueller and Scarpati, who were husband and wife, both died of AIDs-related causes in 1989. The video takes as its starting point a text Mueller wrote for Scarpati as he was dying. It is a beautiful, poignant and tender reflection on what it means to transcend one’s body through death, and Jacques’s rendering of it on film, with additional script and visuals (a mix of archival footage and clips from Rosa von Praunheim’s 1983 cult musical City of Lost Souls), imbue it with renewed gravitas. I’m not ashamed to say it moved me to tears. (You can hear Jacques further discussing the film on Montez Press Radio here.)
With heartfelt thanks to Juliet Jacques and Studio Voltaire for giving us permission to screen this video.