In collaboration with Aarhus 2017, CPH:DOX presents a curated programme with the title ‘DISRUPT THEIR LIVES’ by Anohni. 

Musician and visual artist Anohni has curated a film programme specially for CPH:DOX this year. Formerly the leader of the band Antony & The Johnsons, in 2016 Anohni released ‘ANOHNI: HOPELESSNESS’, an album of songs at once confronting while also addressing her own complicity as a consumer and US tax payer in aspects of contemporary life including drone warfare, capital punishment in the US, ecocide, mass surveillance and corporate virulence.

The title ‘DISRUPT THEIR LIVES’ is a quote from Anohni’s mentor, LGBT activist and film scholar Vito Russo, excerpted from a 1989 radio interview that Russo gave while teaching a class on the history of lesbian and gay representation in film at UC Santa Cruz, California. At the height of the AIDS crisis, Russo, who died the following year, challenged his community to fight for their lives in the face of seemingly insurmountable opposition:

(Interviewer) Gary Reynolds: ‘Do You think they’re always going to hate us?’

Vito Russo: ‘Well yes, in my lifetime, I do. We have learned the sad lesson that nobody likes homosexuals, that nobody supports homosexuals, and the nicer you are to them, the shittier they treat you… So being polite little boys and girls who are all dressed up and ready to do the right thing isn’t going to make one bit of difference becasue they’re still going to hate us and they’re still going to be bigots and there’s still going to be no money for AIDS… so I say, disrupt their lives.’

Part of Anohni’s visual arts practice sews together traumas of recent history, including the history of colonialism and indigenous genocide, the Holocaust, the AIDS crisis, 9/11, eco-cide and the collapsing biodiversity, and explores them as intertwined faces of a single cataclysm, rather than as a sequence of unrelated events. ‘DISRUPT THEIR LIVES’ invites audiences to do the same, focussing also on some artists’ and film makers’ political, spiritual, activist and poetic responses to both personal and international current events.

From Jack Smith and Andy Warhol through Kembra Pfahler and Charles Atlas (who together with Anohni visited CPH:DOX with the film ‘Turning’ in 2011), the program encompasses both popular and rare works, including the otherworldly beautiful film ‘Mr. O’s Book of the Dead’ (1973), John Waters’ shockfest ‘Pink Flamingos’, William Basinski’s 9/11 film ‘Disintegration Loops’, the unflinching holocaust documentary ‘Night and Fog’ and a video portrait of NYC transgendered street prostitute, activist and heroine, Marsha P. Johnson.

Anohni’s programme is presented in collaboration with Aarhus 2017.