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Guide to the The Nick Zedd Papers, 1963 - 2016 MSS.311

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Rhyannon J. Rodriguez, 2011.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 18, 2022
Description is in English

Biographical Note

Nick Zedd (James Harding) was born in Takoma Park, Maryland in 1956. He attended The Philadelphia College of Art for illustration and printmaking, studied animation at The School of Visual Arts, and earned a BFA in film at The Pratt Art Institute. Zedd used the phrase "The Cinema of Transgression" (1984 - 1990) to describe an underground network of New York City filmmakers and performance artists known for low-budget productions exploring themes of erotica, violence, and humor. This community included Zedd, Tessa Hughes-Freeland, Richard Kern, Lung Leg, Lydia Lunch, Kembra Pfahler, Casandra Stark, and Tommy Turner. Zedd wrote, illustrated, designed, and published The Underground Film Bulletin (1984 - 1990) pseudonymously to document his work and the work of this community. Zedd also used this forum to develop ideas that would become "The Cinema of Transgression Manifesto," and later, "The Theory of Xenomorphosis." Zedd published autobiographical works  Bleed (1992) and  Totem of the Depraved (1996) as well as contributed to periodicals including  Film Threat,  The East Village Eye,  CUZ, and  Penthouse Magazine. Zedd has been a visiting lecturer at various film, art, and poetry festivals in the United States, as well as in Sweden and Germany.

Zedd acted in various films, including Richard Kern's "The Manhattan Love Suicides" (1985), Alyce Wittenstein's "No Such Thing as Gravity" (1989), Ari Roussimoff's "Shadows in the City" (1990), Rachel Amodeo's "What About Me" (1993), Peter Sempel's "Jonas in the Desert" (1994), and Peter Strickland's "Bubblegum" (1995). As a filmmaker, Zedd cites the work of Ed Wood Jr., Jack Smith, and John Waters as primary influences. Zedd's films have been featured in exhibitions and festivals at The Anthology Film Archives, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and in theatres and universities in Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. With performance artist Saint Reverend Jen, Zedd created the satirical sci-fi public access television series "The Adventures of Electra Elf" (2002 - 2008). His work is also featured in the documentaries "Llik Your Idols" (2007) and "Blank City" (2010).


"They Eat Scum" (1979)

"The Bogus Man" (1980)

"Geek Maggot Bingo" (1983)

"The Wild World of Lydia Lunch" (1983)

"School of Shame" (1984)

"Thrust in Me" (1984)

"Kiss Me Goodbye" (1985)

"Go to Hell" (1985)

"Police State" (1987)

"I Shit on God" (1988)

"Whoregasm" (1988)

"War is Menstrual Envy" (1992)

"Smiling Faces Tell Lies" (1995)

"Screen Tests/Why Do You Exist" (1998)

"Tom Thumb in the Land of the Giants" (1999)

"Ecstasy in Entropy" (1999)

"I of K9" (2001)

"Elf Panties: The Movie" (2001)

"Lord of the Cockrings" (2001)

"Thus Spake Zarathustra" (2001)

"I Was a Quality of Life Violation" (2002)