25 Oct 2018
On the language of men loving men in Japan
Jacopo Miliani und Sara Giannini
Authors: Jacopo Miliani and Sara Giannini
SelfPleasurePublishing, Milan, in collaboration with OuUnPo, 2018
Whispering Catastrophe is the fourth volume released by SelfPleasurePublishing, an independent editorial project about homosexuality and language initiated and run by Miliani since 2014. SelfPleasurePublishing does not have a regular distribution. Every book enters circulation through special performances and events.
Whispering Catastrophe is the outcome of a collaboration between artist Jacopo Miliani and curator Sara Giannini. Together they propose a trajectory through different definitions concerning man-to-man love in Japan with a specific focus on visual censorship of the male body, non-normative eroticism, and the history of queer publishing.
From the erotic whispers of legendary gay activist Tōgō Ken, to the occult images of the magazine Le Sang et La Rose, the book follows the movements of a language that constantly adopts and transforms names, telling us that what we are not is much more important than what we are. Inspired by the constant reference to Greek antiquity in Japanese gay imagery, the legacy of this shifting language is addressed by the authors through the metaphor of the Catastrophe, the final act of Greek drama which turns things upside down.
Whispering Catastrophe presents five original essays by Giannini and Miliani, as well as several illustrations featuring old and rare underground magazines, books, and other visual materials by renowned photographers such as Tamotsu Yatō and more underground figures such as Kurō Haga.
Artist Jacopo Miliani and curator Sara Giannini have been collaborating in different projects since 2012.
Jacopo Miliani is an artist based in Milan working with performance, installation, video and photography. He is the founder of SelfPleasurePublishing, an independent publishing project that focuses on homosexuality and language. Recent solo exhibitions include: Galeria Rosa Santos, Valencia (2018), Marselleria, Milan (2017), Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2016), Nogueras Blanchard, Barcelona (2016), ICA studio, London (2015). He showed his performances internationally including David Roberts Art Foundation, London (2016, 2012), Museum of Dance, Stockholm (2014), CCSP, Sao Paulo (2014).
Sara Giannini is an independent curator, teacher and writer based in Amsterdam. Informed by her background in theatre and semiotics, she is drawn towards the interlinking of language and performativity across a variety of (artistic) practices. As an independent curator she has initiated experimental collaborative projects such as the VOLUME project (in collaboration with 98weeks, Beirut, 2013-2014), the web-publishing platform Unfold (2015-ongoing), and the curatorial initiative Heterotropics (Amsterdam, ongoing). Her projects have taken place in institutional settings, urban contexts, online platforms and independent project spaces, including Jumex Museum, Mexico City; documenta 14, Athens; the Museum of Modern Art, Kunsthalle São Paulo and Casa do Povo, São Paulo; de Appel, Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum and Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam; 98weeks, Mansion, Assabil Public Libraries, Beirut, M HKA, Antwerp. Since 2017 she is part of the core tutor team of the If I Can’t Dance Class at the Dutch Art Institute. https://dutchartinstitute.eu/page/10171/sara-giannini