We are very happy to invite you to the upcoming
Spectra | Salon
Language Is a Virus From Outer Space
An intensive evening and an eclectic mix on undoing language (and possibly transcending it!) with guests: live performances by Billy Mullaney and Sarah Vanhee, an installation by Andrea Božić and Julia Willms and and a pop song video by Laurie Anderson in dialogue with W. S. Burroughs, with soup and drinks and a conversation.
On Friday, 28June 2019 at 18.00 hrs
At Spectra | Studio, Marci Panis, Marcusstraat 52 | 1D, Amsterdam
Entrance free. Donations welcome.
‘Language is a virus from outer space.’ William S. Burroughs
‘That’s why I’d rather hear your name than see your face.’ Laurie Anderson
William S. Burroughs proposes the theory of ‘the unrecognized virus’ present in the language, suggesting that, “the word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host.’ ‘My basis theory is that the written word was literally a virus that made the spoken word possible.’ This virus came from outer space.
“A virus operates autonomously, without human intervention. It attaches itself to a host and feeds off of it, growing and spreading from host to host. Language infects us: its power derives not from its straightforward ability to communicate or persuade but rather from this infectious nature, this power of bits of language to graft itself onto other bits of language, spreading and reproducing, using human beings as hosts. Georges Bataille similarly argued that communication was best understood from the perspective of contagion. In Bataille any human being is no more than a conduit for communicative process, a channel for ideas which pass through him/her.” Bernardo Attias
Beginning: 18.00 hrs, live performance programme starts at 19.00 hrs
Come on time to experience the whole mix!
The Avant-Garde Never Gives Up by Andrea Božić and Julia Willms (audio-visual installation) – two painters are invited to paint a painting they have never seen listening to art historian describe it in words.
SEMESTER: Lecture 1 by Billy Mullaney (live performance) – the word-for-word and equation-for-equation delivery of a semester’s worth of relativistic quantum field theory lectures. The performer has no idea what he is saying: The lectures were memorized phonetically, choreographically.
Collected Screams by Sarah Vanhee (lecture performance) – different uttered and non-uttered screams from scientific, philosophical, mythological, artistic and political backgrounds, moving from socially accepted, contextualized and collective screaming to darker, more intimate territories, uncontrolled leakages with no attempt at articulations, infinite screams.
GEOMETRY by Billy Mullaney (poetry reading) – a series of poetry generated by appropriating the “real world” exposition from geometry word problems.
Language Is a Virus by Laurie Anderson (pop song) – a pop song by Laurie Anderson from 1986 quoting and commenting on W. S. Burroughs taken from Collected Videos (1990) without permission
A conversation, soup and drinks
Longer texts about the individual projects:
SEMESTER: Lecture 1, performance by Billy Mullaney (45 min) –
SEMESTER is the word-for-word and equation-for-equation delivery of a semester’s worth of relativistic quantum field theory lectures. The performer has no idea what he is saying: The lectures were memorized phonetically, choreographically. The lectures were originally delivered by Professor Alan Guth at MIT in the spring semester of 2004, as part of the course Relativistic Quantum Field Theory I. SEMESTER exploits the academic lecture as a performance form, foregrounding the recombinant language and cadence of the lecture as poetry, the hieroglyphics of the equations for their visual aesthetics, and the conceptual value of “performing” knowledge uncoupled from conventional understanding, divorcing the symbols and language from their bundled informational content. An embodiment of Ranciere’s Ignorant Schoolmaster, SEMESTER is a meatspace “artificial intelligence” that is equal parts cautionary tale and how-to. If embodied performance generally and choreography specifically can index a regime of discipline on the body–through compliant bodies’ surrender to outside forces–SEMESTER proposes a choreographic mode of knowledge and its performance, devaluing conventional standards of expertise and mastery. The piece follows the logic of the standardized testing structure to a conclusion many students recognize and perform themselves: A perverse incentive to (re)produce the trappings of knowledge within a disciplinary scopic regime.
The Avant-Garde Never Gives Up (2 hrs 10 min), audio-visual installation by Andrea Božić and Julia Willms –
For this project, Andrea and Julia invited two painters, Yvonne Grootenboer and Emile Miedema, to paint a painting they had never seen by listening to art historian Jan van Adrichem describe it in words. The original painting was made by Asger Jorn, one of the founders of Situationism: L’Avant-garde se rend pas, made in 1962, is one of his Modifications (détournements) in which he took a painting found at the flea market by an anonymous painter and painted it over. Ultimately, L’Avant-garde se rend pas is a painting made by two authors. The Avant-Garde Never Gives up is a project made by seven authors exposing the process of creation, authorship, image-to-language-to-image translation and knowledge transfer. The Avant-Garde Never Gives Up is a derivation of the performance After Trio A by Andrea Božić, based on Yvonne Rainer’s minimal dance Trio A (1966) and No Manifesto (1965). In After Trio A, two dancers are asked to learn the original Trio A dance phrase live in front of the audience during the performance, copying from the monitor on stage within a strict theatrical setup and choreographic score.
Collected Screams, lecture performance by Sarah Vanhee (60 min) –
A voice is as singular as a fingerprint. When we scream, we catapult ourselves inside out, revealing that dimension of ourselves in between body and mind, maybe closest to our soul. “To open our mouth and let out sounds from a hole in the middle of our face” (Jonathan Ree), revealing both our strongest power and deepest vulnerability. In “collected screams”, Sarah Vanhee shares different uttered and non-uttered screams from scientific, philosophical, mythological, artistic and political backgrounds, moving from socially accepted, contextualized and collective screaming to darker, more intimate territories, uncontrolled leakages with no attempt at articulations, infinite screams. She wonders why we did not scream when we could have screamed and, against the background of patriarchy, re-claims screaming as a tool, a weapon, as instant healing, as a way to unwind or means to express pain, excitement, fear, anger, joy or anything unspeakable. We deserve to scream.
GEOMETRY, a poetry reading by Billy Mullaney – GEOMETRY is a series of poetry generated by appropriating the “real world” exposition from geometry word problems. The first volume takes material from Glencoe McGraw-Hill 2010 edition of Geometry without permission.
Language Is a Virus is a pop song by Laurie Anderson from 1986 quoting and commenting on W. S. Burroughs taken from Collected Videos (1990) without permission.
Spectra | Salons is a series of experimental in-disciplinary evenings across performance and visual arts Andrea Božić and Julia Willms are hosting at Spectra Studio and the Salon in Marci Panis. For each of the Salons, we depart from questions that drive our artistic work and invite other artists into a constellation of perspectives for the evening.
Soup and drinks are available for an affordable price. Cash preferred.
It would be our pleasure to welcome you.
Andrea and Julia
Produced by TILT. Spectra | Salons are made possible by the financial contribution of the Gemeente Amsterdam / Stadsdeel Oost. Supported by Marci Panis.
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