History of Art and Architecture

Meredith North Colloquium


Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

“Silencing Machine: Peter Roehr’s Film Montages as Queer Disavowal”

Meredith North, PhD Candidate, History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh

Constellation: Identity

This paper analyzes the 1965 Film Montages of the West German artist Peter Roehr. Roehr’s untitled Film Montages of American and European commercial advertisements utilized an explicitly mechanical aesthetic to remove removed any personal identification, political impetus, or artistic qualities from the montages. Such an extreme disavowal of subjectivity through the cold objective logic of mechanical precision indicated that these montages could, and should, be understood in two other ways: as Roehr’s purposeful self-silencing, and as critiques of commodity fetishization. As my paper proposes, Roehr’s silencing machine aesthetic arises from a particularly queer perspective that gives access to alternative modes of social critique and political purpose.

Peter Roehr, Ringer, 1965, 16mm