Acts of Voicing

Bani Abidi, The Speech Writer, 2011
Bani Abidi, The Speech Writer, 2011
John Baldessari, Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, 1972
Samuel Beckett, Not I, 1977
deufert + plischke, Emergence Room, since 2010
Ines Doujak, Webschiffe, Kriegspfade, 2011–2013
Ines Doujak, Webschiffe, Kriegspfade, 2011–2013
Juan Manuel Echavarría, Guerra y Pa, 2001
Juan Manuel Echavarría, Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash), 2003-2004
Tim Etchells, Void Story, 2009-2012
Tim Etchells, Void Story, 2009-2012
Tim Etchells, Void Story, 2009-2012
Rainer Ganahl, Seminar/Lecture, Naomi Klein, Open Forum, Naomi Klein, Occupy Wallstreet, Liberty Square, New York, 6.10.2011, 1 of 6 photographies
Rainer Ganahl, Seminar/Lecture, Naomi Klein, Open Forum, Naomi Klein, Occupy Wallstreet, Liberty Square, New York, 6.10.2011, 1 of 6 photographies
Rainer Ganahl, Seminar/Lecture, Naomi Klein, Open Forum, Naomi Klein, Occupy Wallstreet, Liberty Square, New York, 6.10.2011, 1 of 6 photographies
Mariam Ghani, The Trespassers, 2010-2011
Mariam Ghani, The Trespassers, 2010-2011
Karl Holmqvist, I’m with you in Rockland, 2005
Jacques Lacan, Psychanalyse, 1ère partie, Un certain regard, 1974
Imogen Stidworthy, (.), Exhibition view, Matt's Gallery, London, 2011, Photo: Peter White
Rasa Todosijevic, Was ist Kunst? (What is Art?), 1976
Katarina Zdjelar, The Perfect Sound, 2009
Katarina Zdjelar, The Perfect Sound, 2009
Yang Zhenzhong, I Will Die, 2000–2005

(Courtesy, if not otherwise noted: the artists)

Bani Abidi
born 1971 in Karachi (PK), lives and works in Delhi (IN), Karachi, and Berlin (DE)
The Speech Writer, 2011
10 flip books in a box, Raking Leaves publishing, 28 x 24 x 3 cm
Taking the form of a ten-part flip book, The Speech Writer is a fictional video documentary about a political speechwriter. The protagonist, a retired speechwriter who has spent his whole life composing the speeches of others, has installed a microphone in his apartment that is connected to the numerous loudspeakers attached to the front of his building. Every day he uses this setup to send messages to the outside world. Yet we still cannot hear him, as we are only privy to the mute gestures of his mouth.

Daniel García Andújar
born 1966 in Almoradí (ES), lives and works in Barcelona (ES)
Erik, the Ventriloquist, 2012
Installation, workshop, and performances in public space
Production: Württembergischer Kunstverein and Technologies To The People
Daniel García Andújar’s installation and work platform, developed in the scope of this exhibition, investigates the forms in which protest and resistance are articulated in public space—and also how they are controlled by governmental authorities. He questions the hierarchies of power and its control mechanisms, performed by politicians, civic and state security forces and other actors in the theatre of public space. The installation consists of a costume/gear comparable to a ventriloquist's kit, which Andújar transformed into a performative “anti-anti-riot kit”. It furthermore comprises flags, stencils, and other utensils of protest as well as a compilation of digital manuals and tools concerning the contested space of the city. The installation serves as the point of departure for a workshop and public performances.

John Baldessari
born 1931 in National City (USA), lives and works in Santa Monica (USA)
Teaching a Plant the Alphabet, 1972
Video, 18:40 min., b/w, sound
Courtesy: Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York
Conceived as the futile act of eliciting a speech act from a plant, Teaching a Plant the Alphabet is an absurd lesson in matters of alphabetization.

Samuel Beckett
born 1906 in Foxrock near Dublin (IE), died 1989 in Paris (FR).
Not I, 1977
Video, 15:06 min., b/w, sound, BBC, based on the eponymous piece from 1972
Performer: Billie Whitelaw
Courtesy: BBC, London
Not I is a twenty-minute-long theater monologue that premiered in September 1972 at the Forum Theater in New York and was later produced as a TV play for the BBC in 1977 under the direction of Tristram Powell. While in the theater version there are two actors, “Mouth” and “Auditor,” the television version is limited to “Mouth” only, with the mouth of actress Billie Whitelaw seen up close during the entire play. In a breathtaking tempo, Mouth yields a barrage of fragmentary sentences arranged through repetition and loops, indirectly telling the story of a woman who is suffering from a certain unnamed trauma. The woman has been nearly completely mute since childhood, with the exception of the occasional outburst. Mouth incessantly professes that she was not the person experiencing the events she is describing: “what? … who? … no! … she!” In an affecting way, Not I revolves around the foreign kernel inherent to every voice, which here has taken possession of a mouth that has apparently become detached from the body. Simultaneously arising from this struggle to break free from the phallocentric order of language is the possibility and impossibility of feminine speech.

deufert + plischke
Kattrin Deufert, born 1973, and Thomas Plischke, born 1975, live and work in Berlin (DE)
Emergence Room, since 2010
Installation and workshop, modified
Since 2001, Kattrin Deufert and Thomas Plischke have been working together as the artist twin deufert + plischke. In 2010 they initiated the Emergence Room project, an artistically configured working space that changes depending on the context. The Emergence Room alludes to the mythological figure of Arachne from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, whose art of weaving was legendary. Her skills and self-assurance were challenged by the goddess Athena, who turned Arachne into a spider after a weaving contest. In their performative installation, deufert + plischke seize upon the metaphor of weaving and interweaving patterns and thoughts, thus circling various aspects of the exhibition. Found here are an assortment of materials and tools that may be used and supplemented by exhibition visitors (and also by participants in a related workshop), allowing the archive to continually grow and change. Moreover, deufert + plischke have set up modules at various stations in the exhibition at which visitors can record their thoughts on a certain artwork and later publish them in Emergence Room. The objective is to integrate the visitors or users of the exhibition as multivocal commentators, interpreters, and prompters.

Ines Doujak
born 1959 in Klagenfurt (A), lives and works in Vienna (A)
Webschiffe, Kriegspfade, 2011–2013
Eccentric archive 17/48, series of seventeen posters and one booklet, work in progress
Ines Doujak’s poster series was created against the backdrop of a research project where the artist selected objects from a collection of Andean textiles—from her “eccentric archive”—to be sent to experts all over the world, requesting that they enter into communication with the objects. Indigenous forms of knowledge that imbue the textiles with wisdom, agency, and speaking abilities were to be employed and taken seriously. The posters each display a visual interpretation of the objects accompanied by three texts that respectively refer to a history of the colonization of colors and fabrics, to a revolutionary date related to textile production, and to an instance of correspondence.

Juan Manuel Echavarría
born 1947 in Medellín (CO), lives and works in New York (USA)

Guerra y Pa
, 2001

Video, 8:37 min., color, sound
The two protagonists of this video work, a pair of parrots, take to the “stage” one after another, the stage being a wooden construction resembling a cross on which they play out an acrobatic, dance-like battle for territorial supremacy. Identifiable in the cawing of the parrots are the words “guerra” (war) and “pa(z)” (peace).

Bocas de Ceniza (Mouths of Ash), 2003–2004
Video, 18:15 min., color, sound
The title of this video piece references the name of an estuary in Columbia where victimized corpses of the drug war are found on a regular basis. As a sequence of faces, we see eight people of varying age and gender telling us their personal stories through song—influenced by the violence and forced displacement that result from the armed conflicts persisting in Columbia since 1948.

Tim Etchells

born 1962 in Sheffield (UK), lives and works in Sheffield

Void Story
, 2009-2012

Installation (Audio and still-image projection with photo-prints)
Originally presented as a performance in 2009 by the British author, director, and visual artist Tim Etchells and the Sheffield-based Forced Entertainment theater company which he leads, Void Story is a dark-comedic, contemporary fable. Etchells text and collage-images combine to tell the story of the nerve-wrecking odyssey of two haunted protagonists navigating the dwindling vestiges of contemporary culture. Robbed, shot at, and stung by insects, they traverse one eerie urban landscape after the next, are hounded through underground tunnel systems, stow away in refrigerator trucks, shack up in spooky hotels, and wander through patches of wilderness, seedy streets, and annual fairs. They travel right into the blackest blackness of night with no stars in sight. Tim Etchells has adapted this performance for Acts of Voicing as an audiovisual installation for the first time.

Wait Here, 2008
Neon work

Rainer Ganahl
born 1961 in Bludenz (A), lives and works in New York (USA) and Stuttgart (DE)
Seminar/Lecture (S/L), since 1995

Since 1995 Rainer Ganahl has been regularly photographing lectures and seminars, most of which are held at Ivy League schools in the United States and feature prominent leaders in discourse on art and critical theory, such as Giorgio Agamben, Jeff Wall, Rosalind E. Krauss, Slavoj Žižek, Judith Butler, or Angela Davis. He goes beyond showing us each particular speaker in action to also include the audience and the image projections accompanying most lectures. Ganahl observes the various ways in which space, bodies, objects, and technologies are arrayed.

Mariam Ghani
born 1978 in New York (USA), lives and works in New York
The Trespassers, 2010–2011
Installation with video (105 min., color, sound) and archive
Commissioned by the Sharjah Art Foundation

The Trespassers is based on freely accessible English records of investigations into and interrogation transcripts originating from U.S. military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo and black sites. The video work shows a hand that tirelessly traces the flow of text in these documents with a magnifying glass. Offscreen, two different voices simultaneously translate the visible text into Arabic and Dari. Here the voices appear to be propelling the speed of the hand, which in turn fuels the gaze of the beholder to an accelerated pace that impedes the reading. Image and sound, voice and language are perpetually drifting apart in this (re)translation of a translation. Even when perusing the original documents, provided along with further contextual material in the archive alongside the video, the sound of translation constantly impinges on the reading. In creating The Trespassers, Ghani worked with interpreters from the Iraqi and Afghan diasporas, drawing from the same the same pool of people employed by the military to provide simultaneous translation during the interrogation of their compatriots—only to have their own loyalty questioned. The files show absolutely no record of their efforts, even though their spontaneous linguistic omissions, additions, and deviations—inherent to all translations—play a significant role.

Gary Hill
born 1951 in Santa Monica (USA), lives and works in Seattle (USA)
Tale Enclosure, 1985
in collaboration with George Quasha and Charles Stein
Video, 5:50 min., color, sound
Courtesy: Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York
In Tale Enclosure, Gary Hill explores the subconscious bodily origins of speech. The video work begins with individual words from a poem by George Quasha fading in and out, while his vocal experiments with George Stein during a performance can be heard in the background, around which the video will continue to revolve. Through a static camera setting, Hill focuses on the mouth, the face, and the hands of the performers, who are observing themselves live on a monitor and can thus influence the shots, for instance through quick movements, unsharpness, or blurring. The arrangement of the bodies and language is dissolved and reassembled in equal turn.

Anette Hoffmann/ Matei Bellu/ Regina Sarreiter
Anette Hoffmann lives and works in Cape Town (ZA)
Matei Bellu and Regina Sarreiter live and work Berlin (DE)
Unerhörter Bericht über die deutschen Verbrechen in den kolonisierten Gebieten und über das fortwährende Wirken der Gewalt bis in die Gegenwart (Unheard account of German crimes committed in the colonised territories and of the ongoing impact of violence to the present day), 2012
Digital audio recordings, video, wall text
In 1931, the German Hans Lichtenecker conducted a variety of anthropometric studies. He captured the faces of the indigenous population with plaster of Paris, photographed them, and recorded their voices with phonograph cylinders, whereby Lichtenecker was merely interested in the sound of their voices, not in the meaning of their words. The voice recordings ended up in a Berlin phonogram archive where they were rediscovered through the efforts of a cultural scientist, Anette Hoffmann, and digitalized in 2007, before being later transcribed and translated in Namibia. As it turns out, the speakers of the most divergent messages—unheard for over seventy years—were addressing Germans: the messages included complaints about the practices employed by Lichtenecker, who appropriated their bodies, and descriptions of their living conditions under the regime of the German colonialism.

Karl Holmqvist
born 1964 in Västeras (SE), lives and works in Stockholm (SE) and Berlin (DE)
I’m with you in Rockland, 2005
Video, 25:03 min., b/w, sound
Courtesy: Galerie Neu, Berlin
I’m with you in Rockland is a text-based video work that plays on Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem Howl of 1955 and is reminiscent of a slam poetry aesthetics. Audible is Holmqvist’s voice, which is reciting an offbeat singsong of unrelated quotes taken from media, pop culture, and literature. He then reassociates the material with clichés and banalities from the realms of fashion and economics, but also with serious topics from politics, like the “War on Terror.” The various quoted snippets are repeatedly linked to the central question that this video work seems to be addressing: “How do you say . . . ?” The pictorial plane is continuously black with white subtitles that determine—or, like a teleprompter, predetermine?—Holmqvist’s litany.

Ranjit Hoskoté
born 1969 in Bombay (IN), lives and works in Bombay
Letters to Al-Mu'tasim, 2012
Research installation with historical documents, notes, and literature by the author
Letters to Al-Mu'tasim reverts to Jorge Luis Borges’s 1944 novel The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim, a fictive review of an imaginary book, which among others refers to Farid ud-Din Attar’s story The Conference of the Birds. It serves Hoskoté as trope for those “Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Indian cultural strands woven into the tapestry of Europe” (Hoskoté). This installation embodies many years of research into the cultural, economic, and philosophical confluences that have shaped the transcontinental belt stretching from Spain to Indonesia.

Jacques Lacan
born 1901 in Paris (FR), died 1981 in Paris
Psychanalyse, 1ère partie, Un certain regard, 1974
Television broadcast on March 9, 1974, ORTF, 45:58 min.
Interview by Jacques Alain Miller
Original without subtitles
In this television appearance by Jacques Lacan, the only such appearance by the French psychoanalyst (and broadcast in two parts), he answers a series of questions fielded by his son-in-law Jacques Alain Miller. The form of his speech, or communication via the medium of television, is just as fascinating as it is occasionally disconcerting and uncanny.

Minouk Lim

born 1968 in Daejeon (KR), lives and works in Seoul (KR)
Documentation and performance, 2012

International Calling Frequency

International Calling Frequency is a performance with a sound piece composed in collaboration with Minwhee Lee. The song is inspired by The Internationale. In contrast with the original song, International Calling Frequency is without lyrics. It distances itself from a political discourse, yet it performs a reinterpretation of its politicized content through the actors’ humming of The Internationale tune. One location square at a time, the performers gather and situate themselves at a twenty-meter distance from each other, which represents the legal distance for an undeclared protest in Korea. Disassociating itself from a call for a protest gathering, and closer in structure to a ritornello, the humming resonates in one’s mind and brings people together through collective memory.
Furthermore Lim develops a new performance for the Acts of Voicing exhibition.

Mara Mattuschka
born 1959 in Sofia (BG), lives and works in Vienna (AT)
Parasympathica, 1985
16mm on DVD, 5 min., b/w, sound
Courtesy: Sixpack Film, Vienna
The experimental film Parasympathica traces the binary constructions of body, consciousness, and language while simultaneously infiltrating them. The protagonist is the artist Mara Mattuschka in her role as Mimi Minus. Half of her body has been painted white and the other half black. Again and again her body spins at high speed either to the left or the right, making her divided body almost appear to be united again. From the off we hear, on the one hand, Spanish being recited—a listed account of the canon of Catholic vices and virtues, which the artist tries to mimic through various theatrical poses—and, on the other, a mundane text about butterflies—how their beauty is tied to their symmetry.

José Pérez Ocaña
born 1947 in Cantillana (ES), died 1983 in Sevilla (ES)
Various documents and materials
The artist José Pérez Ocaña, born in the Spanish province of Sevilla, counts among the protagonists of the queer underground culture in Barcelona of the nineteen-eighties, at the beginning of the political transition period following the Franco dictatorship. In his actions, performances, and parades carried out together with friends (like cartoonist Nazario) in public space—especially along the famous promenade La Rambla—a range of aesthetics mix, such as camp, carnival, Sevillian “Semana Santa” (Holy Week) and flamenco, to form unique scenarios. They are moreover characterized by ambiguous, intersexual self-representations. The same applies to Ocaña’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures, which he arranged as excessive total artworks in exhibition settings. Ocaña passed away at the age of thirty-six years after an accident at one of his parades during which his costume caught on fire.

Gérard Courant, Ocaña. Der Engel, der in der Qual singt, 1979
8 mm on DVD, 10 min., Spanish
While visiting the Berlin film festival in 1979, Ocaña met the French filmmaker Gérard Courant, who captured his performative spirit in a Super 8 short film. Courant “invited him to go to one of the towers overlooking the Wall, at the Brandenburg Gate. As his only script, he took along a card board Marilyn Monroe. Ocaña climbed the tower, singing and taunting the cardboard. The film was made without sound, but Ocaña and Courant met up again a few month later in Cannes, where Courant asked him to dub over the soundtrack in a public performance. The result, reminiscent of the short films that Pedro Almodóvar had shown and dubbed live in Barcelona years before, is a fusion of Ocañas zany oral outpourings with his silent movie comedy gesture” (Ocaña, exh.-catalogue, 2011).

Nazario Luque, Ocaña. El fuego infinito (Ocaña. The Endless Fire)
Drawings of the costumes and scenography of the piece Ocaña. El fuego infinito (digital copies).
Courtesy: Centro de Documentación de las Artes Escénicas de Andalucía. Agencia Andaluza de Instituciones Culturales. Consejería de Cultura y Deporte. Junta de Andalucía

Manuel Pelmus
born 1974 in Bucharest (RO), lives and works in Bucharest
preview 2012, 2012
Piece performed by Brynar Abel Bandlien
Coproduced by Württembergischer Kunstverein
The voice has repeatedly played a pivotal role in Manuel Pelmus’s work. For instance in his solo piece preview (2007), the artist’s presence is only discernible through his voice, which describes movements made by the body from behind a veil of darkness. His speech revolves around elementary questions pertaining to the boundaries of the visible body. “The autonomy of the gaze, its supremacy, vanishes with the body of the soloist whilst also the stage as locus of representation is shielded. What remains: a place without a place, space without locus. What is created is an altered hierarchy of the senses: ears ahead of eyes” (Sandra Noeth, Tanzquartier Wien). preview has been further developed in 2012 for Acts of Voicing, where the boundaries between live performance and audio installation grow hazy.

David Riff / Dmitry Gutov
Riff: born 1975, lives and works in Moscow (RU) and Berlin (DE)
The Need for Money, 2012
Installation with audio piece and 5 paintings
New production, coproduced by Württembergischer Kunstverein
The Need for Money is part and distillate of the project The Karl Marx School of the English Language (KMSEL), an aesthetic re-reading of Karl Marx which started as a language workshop in Moscow in 2005. In this workshop the participants were coached to read aloud, pronounce and fully understand English translations of Marx. This practice has become a performative-painterly idiom for voicing fundamental aesthetic and political concerns. The title refers to a sentence in Karl Marx’s Capital which is consistently repeated by an English teacher and his Russian speaking student.

Anri Sala
born 1974 in Tirana (AL), lives and works in Paris (FR)
Natural Mystic (Tomahawk #2), 2002
Video, 2:08 min., color, sound
Courtesy: Johnen Galerie, Berlin
A man enters an empty sound studio and positions himself in front of a microphone before proceeding to imitate the sound of an approaching Tomahawk missile in an impressive way.

Stephanie Smith, b. 1968, and Edward Stewart, b. 1961, live in Glasgow (UK)
Inside Out, 1997
Video, b/w
Like many works by the Scottish artist duo Smith and Stewart, Inside Out can be read as a reference to the author Samuel Beckett. In his short novel, Company, Beckett describes an opening and closing eyelid as being 'Hooded. Bared." In Inside Out the mouth becomes an organ of fascination and the camera an organ of the gaze: we see an opening and closing mouth. When the mouth closes, the space becomes enveloped in absolute darkness and silence. Not until the mouth again opens and breathes is a white light engendered, facilitating communication between the inside and outside. This act of physically breathing alludes to the relationship between language and visualization: breath becomes image and sound, with the mouth-bound camera taking on the role of the retina, the mouth thus replacing the eye. The play on darkness and light, along with the suspension of distance between image and beholder, makes viewers aware of their breathing as a fundamental, preverbal, corporeal act.

Imogen Stidworthy
born 1963 in London (UK), lives and works in Liverpool (UK)
(.), 2011
Video installation
Courtesy: The artist and Matt’s Gallery, London
Imogen Stidworthy’s multipart video installation with the unusual—and unpronounceable—title (.) revolves around a man named Sacha van Loo who works for the Antwerp police and has been blind since birth. Because of his keen sense of hearing and knowledge of numerous languages and dialects, Loo conducts criminal and voice analysis. A video projection shows Loo at work, wearing headphones and concentrating on listening to an audio recording, now and again murmuring select comments. He then types something into a computer using a Braille keyboard, thus activating a voice computer that audibly renders his entries. A third text, at the same time introducing a fictional plane, deals with the sound recording itself, which we only encounter through Loo’s comments. It is a passage from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel The First Circle in Russian. The story is about a group of imprisoned Soviet scientists and linguists who are ordered by Stalin to build two devices: one for concealing voices during telephone calls and the other for identifying voices.
A further element in this complex work of art shows 3D shots of a street that have been produced with acoustic instead of visual media, which are increasingly finding their way into the logistics of surveillance.
A third video, which is linked to a complex sound installation, follows Loo on a walk through town. We only ever see him from a posterior perspective and simultaneously listen to the sounds of his environment, one that we cannot see. We therefore localize Loo in a predominately acoustic way.

Marcus Steinweg
born 1971 in Koblenz (DE), lives and works in Berlin (DE)
Diagram: The Real, 2012
Diagram, laser print, felt-tip pen and adhesive tape on paper
Courtesy: BQ, Berlin
The philosopher Marcus Steinweg is renowned for his conceptual diagrams, which he develops on various different topics and in collaboration with others, for instance the artist Thomas Hirschhorn and the artist duo deufert + plischke. The diagrams are comprised of the artist‘s own textual paragraphs, scientific terms, and philosopers‘ names, which are collaged on paper and interrelated through lines drawn with a permanent marker. These minimalist yet highly complex collages could also be considered abstract visual notions, mind maps, or concrete poetry. He is now producing a new diagram with the specifics of Acts of Voicing in mind.

Rasa Todosijevic
born 1945 in Belgrade (RS), lives and works in Belgrade
Was ist Kunst? (What is Art?), 1976
Video, 11:54 min., b/w, sound
Courtesy: Kontakt. Die Kunstsammlung der Erste Group, Vienna
This video documents a performance that Rasa Todosijevic presented at various locations between 1976 and 1981. A man, played by Todosijevic himself, repeatedly asks one and the same question—“What is art?”—with varying degrees of aggression and exasperation, while the other person, usually a woman, just passively sits there in silence. In the video documentary we only see the face of the silent woman and the hands of the bellowing/imploring man, who touches her face with pressure that is at times gentle or stronger, slathering on black paint. The scenario evokes a multitude of associations and readings—a violent interrogation where the roles of perpetrator and victim, power and impotence, man and woman, speech and silence are clearly assigned, and where the persistent silence may also be viewed as denial and resistance. What is more, it is obvious that the powerful language of the German fascists is alluded to here—also considering the German title of the work—and thus, by implication, there is also a reference totalitarian discourse in the art world. Yet the question “What is art?” ultimately remains unanswered.

Fadi Toufiq
Author and artist, lives and works in Beirut (LB)
Stuttgart‘s Tabula Rasa, 2012
Performative Research
Coproduced by Württembergischer Kunstverein
Fadi Toufiq developed for Acts of Voicing a game that fathoms the relationships between urban development, codetermination, and civic participation, and which harks back to the project Stuttgart 21.
In many cities across the world, there is either a plan or a project in progress to transfer an above-ground terminal station into an underground through station, with the aim of using the above- ground land resulting from the transformation process to erect mega real-estate projects. The ambition for new urban redevelopment projects is comparable to the perpetual neoliberal state of searching for property-led land for the accumulation of capital. The game board considers the tabula rasa of land that is the outcome of the Stuttgart 21 project as the site of contestation among players who are competing to have a say over its use, and to obtain the right to shape the still blank cut-out land according to the plan they advocate.

Ingrid Wildi Merino / Decolonial Group Berlin
born 1963 in Santiago de Chile (CL), lives and works in Geneva (CH)
Arquitectura de las transferencias. La hibris del punto cero (Architecture of Transferences. The Hybris of the Zero Point), 2012
Performance and installation
Ingrid Wildi Merino has developed a new work based on a collaboration with the Decolonial Group Berlin. It involves a choreographed performance for six voices during which fragments from Santiago Castro Gómez’s publication La Hybris del Punto Cero (The Hybris of the Zero Point, 2005) are recited. Taking a critical approach, La Hybris del Punto Cero probes the supposedly neutral discourses of the Enlightenment in Europe.
Various sentence fragments from this book are distributed to different roles and then translated into a new, nonlinear order for presentation. The performance will premiere in Stuttgart in a room conceived for this specific work that contains, besides microphones, a series of portraits of pivotal figures supporting the theory of decolonization. After the premiere, the microphones will serve as loudspeakers while a video documents the performance.

Katarina Zdjelar
born 1979 in Belgrade (RS), lives and works in Rotterdam (NL)
The Perfect Sound, 2009
Video, 14:30 min., color, sound
Courtesy: The artist and CIRCUS, Berlin
In The Perfect Sound we observe how a speech therapist from Birmingham tries inventive ways of teaching an immigrant how to perfect his pronunciation of the English language—actually, at first we only hear the two talking, since the video work begins in utter darkness. After a while we see the picture matching the voices, with the latter emitting sounds rather than articulated speech. The point of the exercises is to overcome the telltale quality of the voice, to get rid of its foreign note. Here the British context plays a special role, since language and speech not only reveal the status of foreigner but also bring to light the last remaining, almost impervious traces of the class system.

Yang Zhenzhong
born 1968 in Hangzhou (CN), lives and works in Shanghai (CN)
I Will Die, 2000–2005
Video, color, sound
Courtesy: ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai
Over a period of five years, Yang Zhenzhong asked people all over the world at diverse public places to spontaneously say the words “I will die” into the camera.

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