Arts & Entertainment: Fierce Throws Down the Arts Gauntlet; Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival. Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival

By Grimley, Terry | The Birmingham Post (England), June 2, 2000 | Go to article overview

Arts & Entertainment: Fierce Throws Down the Arts Gauntlet; Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival. Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival


Grimley, Terry, The Birmingham Post (England)


Last Friday's packed-out performance by Franko B - the man who bleeds, on purpose, in public - launched Fierce, a festival largely dedicated to the disturbing.

It continues tonight with more bodily discomfort at MAC, when Marissa Carnesky presents her show Jewess Tattooess.

Described as 'haunting, hallucinatory and carnivalesque', Carnesky's show involves her adding at each performance to the extensive collection of tattoos with which her body is already adorned.

Since apparently not everyone regards tattoos as compatible with Judaism, Carnesky is, according to Fierce director Mark Ball, 'using the body to make people question their identity and their relationship with their faith.'

The region-wide festival, now in its third year, was previously called Queerfest.

'We decided to change the name because we did a lot of market research on the first two years and it was apparent that the name Queerfest tended to give people preconceptions,' Mark Ball explains.

'Straight audiences assumed it was only about lesbian and gay issues and that it was not for them, and gay audiences made the same assumption and were sometimes disappointed. It's looking at much broader concerns of social and sexual identity - with work presented by disabled artists, for example.

'I think the word Fierce reflects the edginess of a lot of the work. As soon as we changed the name everyone said they were glad, including the artists. In a more complex world we no longer want to be pigeonholed.'

Tomorrow night, also at MAC, Robert Pacitti presentsCivil, his personal reflection on the late Quentin Crisp and his landmark bookThe Naked Civil Servant. Crisp, who died shortly before he was due to appear at MAC last year, appears on film.

'For me it's quite a nice thing to have the presence of Quentin in the festival; I feel his spirit pervades it,' says Mark Ball. …

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Arts & Entertainment: Fierce Throws Down the Arts Gauntlet; Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival. Fierce Director Mark Ball Tells Terry Grimley about the Philosophy Behind the West Midlands' Most Controversial Arts Festival
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