Genesis P-Orridge has been one of the most innovative and influential figures in music and fine art for the last 30 years. A link between the pre- and post-punk eras, he is the founder of the legendary groups COUM Transmissions (1969–1976), Throbbing Gristle (1975–1981), and Psychic TV (1981 to present), all of which merged performance art with rock music. Celebrated by critics and art historians as a progenitor of “industrial music,” his innovations have transformed the character of rock and electronic music while his prodigious efforts to expand the boundaries of live performance have radically altered the way people experience sound in a concert setting.
But that’s just the preamble to the story. Defying artistic boundaries, Genesis has redefined his art as a challenge to the limits of biology. In 2000, Genesis began a series of surgeries in order to more closely resemble his love, Lady Jaye (née Jacqueline Breyer), who remained his wife and artistic partner for nearly 15 years. It was the ultimate act of devotion, and Genesis’s most risky, ambitious, and subversive performance to date: he became a she in a triumphant act of artistic self-expression. Genesis called this project “Creating the Pandrogyne,” an attempt to deconstruct two individual identities through the creation of an indivisible third.
This is a love story and a portrait of two lives that illustrate the transformative powers of both love and art. Marie Losier brings to us the most intimate details of Genesis’s extraordinary, uncanny world. In warm and intimate images captured handheld, Losier crafts a labyrinthine mise-en-scène of interviews, home movies, and performance footage. The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye documents a truly new brand of Romantic consciousness, one in defiance of the daily dehumanization of the body by the pervasive presence of advertising and pornography, conveying beauty, dignity, and devotion from a perspective never before seen on film.
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge on the film:
"Marie’s technique is very revolutionary. Most documentaries – and I’ve been in a lot of documentaries, I’ve been in Joy Division, Brion Gysin, Burroughs, Derek Jarman documentaries – all kinds of stuff. But they’re all the same: they sit you down and they stick a camera at you and it’s just your head, and you’re just going blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... and it’s very ordinary. There’s nothing very interesting and radical happening. But with Marie there’s animation and she gets you to wear the most ludicrous costumes and do these bizarre things that at the time you’re doing them you’re thinking, what the hell has this got to do with my life? But when it’s all assembled, it’s like Fellini meets documentary. It’s a very new, radical way of making documentaries, and quite honestly, we think that what Marie does and the way she does it will be the template for the future. She is totally unique, very deep with a great sense of joy and emotions below her humor."
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR:
Marie Losier, born in France in 1972, is a filmmaker and curator working in New York City. She has shown her films and videos at museums, galleries, biennials, and festivals. She studied literature at the University of Nanterre (France) and fine art in New York City. She has made a number of film portraits on avant-garde directors, musicians and composers, such as Mike and George Kuchar, Guy Maddin, Richard Foreman, Tony Conrad, and Genesis P- Orridge. Whimsical, poetic, dreamlike, and unconventional, her films explore the life and work of these artists.