Rupert Reading Session #8 ‘Body Stutters & the Affects of Difference’

Rupert continues its monthly reading sessions! Every month, a member of Rupert’s team or an invited guest selects material to discuss. The reading sessions are open to anyone by registration. The 8th of Rupert’s online reading sessions ‘Body Stutters & the Affects of Difference’ with Genevieve Costello will take place December 21st, 18:00 EET.

“Some people just aren’t good with sickness,” my therapist Simon says to me over the phone. Simon follows up with promise, “Empathy can be taught despite contrary belief.” This is a disagreeable reality, to put it gently. Something to put on a card in a drugstore. Some people just aren’t good with sickness is much grander than just some people. It is much grander than just poor practice of empathy. It is the oppressive hegemonic problematic of systemic ableism. It is the disabling effects of an abled-bodied world on intimate life and social life. Living with some people just aren’t good with sickness does not suffice.

In this session, we will travel to the inner worlds of female bodies to unpack the ways in which erasure and exclusion happen to those who defy curable diagnosis under the terms of western medicine. In particular, we will travel to the female body enlivened by low-visibility chronic illness. We will consider what are the effects of this social dynamic on self-identity, communication, and the right to care through a small selection of close-readings. Topics of departure include: gender, sex, and desire; family relations and generationality; the right to be a creative body (and how it may be useful for practices to live differently as a productive body); invisibility, loneliness, and autonomy; new unchosen identities; chronic ageing and fear; the right to rest and when and how; how to (can one?) create a language for expression with others when there is none and it’s hard to listen; what do procedures of care look like when there is nothing to be done?

By the end of the session, we will have knocked some masonry from the thick but not impenetrable wall of body-stigmatization and started, or added to, an embrace of the body-grotesque, the body-sad, the body-changing, the body-ageing, for a more inclusive and socialized account of the physical materiality of being that distinctively affects everyone.

Registration link:

There will be a maximum of 25 registrations for the reading session, selected on a first come first serve basis. Extracts from the texts and a Zoom link will be sent to registered participants.

Accessibility: We would like to make the workshop accessible for people with disabilities, this can include multiple strategies for reducing barriers. Please let us know if Rupert can help find ways of greater access. Our print materials will be in English, if you use a screen reader, we can email you some screen-reader friendly digital versions, please email


Genevieve Costello is a queer feminist America-to-Europe immigrant writer, visual artist and digital culture researcher of Irish and Sicilian descent. She is a practice-based PhD candidate in Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a member of ReUnion Network. She is currently reading: Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo. She is currently spinning: this blue ocean. She is currently breathing: 6 count in; 2 count pause; 12 count out; 2 count pause. She is currently resting: to New Space Music by Brian Eno. She is currently moving: to Do You Feel It? by Joe Cuba Sextet. She is currently fondling: golden car sponges, birthday balloons, standard cotton balls, and furry poms. She is currently feeling: overwhelmed, excited, concerned, right side body pain, emotionally of full conifers, pink tree light, and dwindling evening energy. She is currently living as a fellow in Studio 28 c/o Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart with a forest as her backyard. Since 1988, her birthday is June 2nd. Since more recently, she’s been occupied with materiality, movement, non-competitive game methodologies, alongside theoretical foci of ethics of care, vulnerability, and alternative structures of social reproduction and intimacy.

Rupert’s activities are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture