Essay on Orgonomics Kenneth White

Publication printed as multiple Kenneth White Photo: Bas Czerwinski

Kenneth White is Assistant Professor of Film Studies in the Cinema Department at the State University of New York at Binghamton and editor of the book Carolee Schneemann: Unforgivable. This background in film has significantly shaped White’s research into Wilhelm Reich. In 2018 White collaborated with artists Peggy Ahwesh, Keith Sanborn, and Soyoung Yoon to build an orgone accumulator, using blueprints that had originally been drawn by Reich. White has been presenting lectures (on the purpose of the accumulator, it’s history and its legacy) with the accumulator in situ. These lectures culminate in a screening of the 1971 film W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism directed by Dušan Makavejev (1932–2019). This surrealist film begins as an investigation into the life and work of controversial psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich and features some rare footage of Reich’s family and the town near where Reich once lived.

The film then transforms into a free-form narrative of a young Slavic girl’s sexual liberation After initial screenings, both in and out of Yugoslavia, W.R. was banned in that country for the next 16 years. Makavejev was subsequently indicted on criminal charges of "derision" towards "the state, its agencies, and representatives" after he made remarks to a West German newspaper about the ban. His exile from his home country then became permanent until the end of the regime. In this work for Orgonomics, visitors to Garage Rotterdam are invited to take a copy of the essay/poster with them, to read in their own time. The images that punctuate White’s essay depict the accumulator he and his colleagues constructed, set up in the same room where the screening of Makavejev’s also takes place.

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