March 2, 2017

Reading group: Fiction, Trust, and Surveillance

Broodthaers Society of America
Left: Alice Sparkly Kat, promotional image (detail), 2017. Center: Broodthaers Society of America, infinite vector file, 2015. Right: Sigrid Adriaenssens, research image (Stuttgart), 2012.

The Broodthaers Society of America (BSA) promotes new interpretations of the work of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers in the political and cultural context of the United States. While our primary mission is to promote scholarship on his work as a poet and artist, we also encourage using his oeuvre as a creative jumping off point for wider social and aesthetic explorations.

In March, the BSA Reading Group will begin a month-long series of discussions on the interrelated themes of Fiction, Trust, and Surveillance at the Hauser & Wirth Bookshop and Roth Bar, 548 West 22nd Street, New York.

On Tuesday, March 7, astrologer Alice Sparkly Kat will conduct a full-on public reading of Marcel Broodthaers’ astrological birth chart. Broodthaers third book of poetry, La Bête Noire, is a poetic riff on the 12-part cycle of the zodiac and the characteristics of the symbolic animals assigned to each. Indeed, the mythology of animals and what might be called the fundamental “twelveness” of Western history—from the Apostles to the Georgian calendar to modern timekeeping to the building blocks of “1” and “2”—are core themes in Broodthaers work.

Alice Sparkly Kat is a Brooklyn-based, queer, POC astrologer with a focus on decolonizing astrology. Her readings re-chart histories of the subconscious, redefine the body in the world, and reimagine history as collective trauma. Her lectures, workshops, and writings have appeared at BHQFU, Dixon Place, Ars Nova, POWRPLNT, and other venues. She is the in-house astrologer for Little Skips! Coffee Shop in Bushwick and the feminist magazine Selfish. She is available for readings by appointment at

On Tuesday, March 28, associate professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Sigrid Adriaenssens will conduct a lecture on the “Shell Zeitgeist” that took place in architecture throughout the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and perfectly coincided with Marcel Broodthaers adult life. In concept and material, the shell is a motif that runs throughout his work as national symbol, hollow accretion, and institutional metaphor. Adriaenssens’ lecture will draw a parallel between Broodthaers poetic use of shells and the concrete structural innovations that were unfolding all around him.

Adriaenssens runs the Structural Form-finding Lab at Princeton, where her research and practice focuses on form-finding techniques and structural optimization with a specialty in cast concrete shells. Her recent research has expanded into experimentation with sustainable materials, mobile structures, and pre-stressed tension structures. She earned a PhD at the Centre for Lightweight Structures, University of Bath, England, in 2000.

On Tuesday, April 18, artist and publisher Joe Scanlan will give a lecture on L’oeil Vigilant (the “Watchful Eye”) a distinct perceptual condition that he discerns in Marcel Broodthaers’ late work—particularly No Photography Allowed and L’Angelus de Daumier—that has much in common with our all-encompassing surveillance society. Fittingly, L’oeil Vigilant is also the name of a digital poetry magazine that Scanlan publishes in the form of a 24/7 surveillance feed for your smartphone.

Scanlan is a professor and director of the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University. He is represented by Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp; and Galerie de Expeditie, Amsterdam. Scanlan is also a widely read, discussed, and translated writer for such venues as Artforum and frieze, as well as his imprint, Commerce Books, and his website,


Broodthaers Society of America
520 West 143rd Street
New York, NY 10031
T 212 234 4174 / [email protected]

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.