Versions of A Fire In My Belly

1. A Fire In My Belly, 1986-87/ 2010, 4 minute version, edited for exhibition length by Jonathan D. Katz and Bart Everly, ACT UP soundtrack

This version was censored from the “Hide/Seek: Difference And Desire In American Portraiture” exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Editors attempted to include every scene in the 7 minute version. The soundtrack is Wojnarowicz’s own recording of a 1989 Act Up Demonstration and includes the sound of his voice. Approved by the Estate of David Wojnarowicz.

Watch this version: http://vimeo.com/17692112

2. A Fire In My Belly, 1986-87, 7 minute version, silent

This version is on the screening DVD available from PPOW Gallery. The reel for this version was found unlabeled in David Wojnarowicz’s apartment after his death. It is understood to be part of the 1986-87 film, “A Fire In My Belly,” that Wojnarowicz never finished.

Watch this version: http://vimeo.com/17650206

3. A Fire In My Belly, 1986-87, 13 minute version, silent

This version is on the screening DVD available from PPOW Gallery. This original version was titled “Fire In My Belly” by David Wojnarowicz and never received a final edit or a soundtrack. It includes footage not found in the 7 minute excerpt and does not include the controversial segment in which ants crawl on over a crucifix.

Watch this version: http://vimeo.com/17650206

4. Fire In My Belly, Diamanda Galas version
The Galas version was made by Rosa Von Praunheim for the film Silence=Death.

Additional clarifications from Marvin Taylor, Director of Fales Library and Special Collections at New York University

In the rush of reporting on the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of David Wojnarowicz’s film A Fire in My Belly several inaccuracies have been reported and reprinted/posted.

Below are some corrections to those errors based on the primary source material held in the David Wojnarowicz Papers at Fales Library, New York University.

1. A Fire in My Belly was originally shot on Super8mm film and did not have a completed soundtrack. It is not a “video.”

2. A Fire in My Belly was never completed by Wojnarowicz. A text panel at the end of the film reads: “Film In Progress, David Wojnarowicz, 1986-7.”

3. The incomplete A Fire in My Belly runs 13 minutes. Had it been completed it would have run longer. We have a cutting script Wojnarowicz was working from, thus we know that there are sections not included in this segment.

4. A Fire in My Belly was not created as an homage to Peter Hujar. In fact, it is questionable if it was created as a response to AIDS. It predates Wojnarowicz’s finding out that he was HIV positive and the change in his work that reflects his status.

5. An additional section/chapter/excerpt from A Fire in My Belly was located on another film reel in Wojnarowicz’s collection. It runs 7 minutes. These sections are listed in the cutting script under the section heading “Prostitution.”. This section was used by Wojnarowicz and Rosa von Praunheim in von Praunheim’s film Silence = Death, 1989. We have a super8 film roll that Wojnarowicz titled that reads “Peter, etc…. Mexico, etc.” and contains the name “Michael Lupetin” written in pencil and has Wojnarowicz’s phone number “228-7024 NYC”—all written in Wojnarowicz’s hand. Lupetin was the producer of Silence=Death. Based on the edge code, the film stock is dated 1986-7.

6. A 4-minute edit of this 7-minute excerpt was used in the Hide/Seek exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery with an added soundtrack derived from an audiocassette from Wojnarowicz’s Papers of a June 1989 ACT-UP demonstration. This added soundtrack was not part of the artist’s original work and/or vision and probably has led people to think that A Fire in My Belly was about the AIDS crisis. The addition of this soundtrack was approved by the Wojnarowicz estate.

7. The Youtube version of FIMB with music from Plague Mass by Diamanda Galas was loaded by Semiotext(e). This version originally appeared in Rosa von Praunheim’s film Silence = Death, 1989. The master footage for this version with the Galas soundtrack is not in the David Wojnarowicz Papers at the Fales Library nor is there any indication that Wojnarowicz created this version. It is debatable whether the piece included in von Praunhiem’s film could be called A Fire in My Belly. The most we can accurately say is that the footage was removed by Wojnarowicz from A Fire in My Belly and given to Michael Lupetin for use in Silence=Death.

8. We do not know why Wojnarowicz never completed A Fire in My Belly.