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Intermedial Cityscapes: Re-imagining Gay London in Scott Lyman’s Folly/Monument; Excerpts from Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library (2014)

Abstract : This essay focuses on the video installation Folly/Monument; Excerpts from Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library, by American artist Scott Lyman, first exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, as part of the Bloomberg “New Contemporaries” 2015 exhibition. The viewer entered a site-specific, pale pink, neoclassical “folly”—an enclosed, intimate space for no more than two visitors at a time—, in which a 26-minute film offering a fragmentary vision of Alan Hollinghurst’s 1988 début novel was played on a loop. This essay analyses the way in which Lyman’s video installation re-imagines the London of 1983 and the relationship between urban space and dissident sexualities explored in Alan Hollinghurst’s 1988 novel. It argues that beyond an aesthetics of discontinuity, based on abrupt, incongruous contrasts, Lyman’s piece—thus mirroring Hollinghurst’s novel—weaves an intricate web of relationships between past and present, notably through its soundtrack and the motif of dancing: Lyman’s cityscape is turned into a soundscape, reconfiguring the gay London mapped by Hollinghurst. This essay finally contends that Lyman’s piece, in a playful and queer mode, blurs the lines between the inside and the outside, the intimate and the monumental, the individual and the collective, questioning our own position or “situational identity” as viewers and London flâneurs.
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https://hal.univ-reims.fr/hal-02519183
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Submitted on : Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 6:17:57 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 19, 2020 - 6:27:28 PM

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Xavier Giudicelli. Intermedial Cityscapes: Re-imagining Gay London in Scott Lyman’s Folly/Monument; Excerpts from Alan Hollinghurst’s The Swimming-Pool Library (2014). Polysèmes, Société des amis d'inter-textes (SAIT), 2019, Landscapes/Cityscapes, https://doi.org/10.4000/polysemes.6095. ⟨10.4000/polysemes.6095⟩. ⟨hal-02519183⟩

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