Before his mysterious murder in 1975, Pier Paolo Pasolini had become famous—and infamous—not only for his groundbreaking films and literary works but also for his homosexuality and criticism of capitalism, colonialism, and Western materialism. In Pier Paolo Pasolini: Performing Authorship, Gian Maria Annovi revisits Pasolini's oeuvre to examine the author's performance as a way of assuming an antagonistic stance toward forms of artistic, social, and cultural oppression. Annovi connects Pasolini's notion of authorship to contemporary radical artistic practices and today's multimedia authorship.
Annovi considers the entire range of Pasolini's work, including his poetry, narrative and documentary film, dramatic writings, and painting, as well as his often scandalous essays on politics, art, literature, and theory. He interprets Pasolini's multimedia authorial performance as a masochistic act to elicit rejection, generate hostility, and highlight the contradictions that structure a repressive society. Annovi shows how questions of authorial self-representation and self-projection relate to the artist's effort to undermine the assumptions of his audience and criticize the conformist practices that the culture industry and mass society impose on the author. Pasolini reveals the critical potential of his spectacular celebrity by using the author's corporeal or vocal presence to address issues of sexuality and identity, and through his strategic self-fashioning in films, paintings, and photographic portraits he destabilizes the audience's assumptions about the author.