Curatorial project for the [sonic]SQUARE series presented at the Kaaitheaterstudios, Brussels, Belgium. Monday June 3.

An evening of somatic language. An evening where communication will consist of words falling back inside the mouth. The metaphoric exploration of the stutter enables a consideration of language in its full materiality; all signs and sounds emitted will have a body attached. This event gathers the coeditors and some contributors of Writing Aloud: The Sonics of Language (Errant Bodies Press, 2001) as well as additional guests. The lineup combines performance artists, historians, theorists, sound artists, writers, video artists. The evening is being planned as a series of overlapping and interlocking installation/ performances which will invest a number of spaces at the kaaistudios. This will create a conversation in the form of a dialogue of monologues, and will stage an interaction of the three terms, ‘stutter’ ‘mouth’ ‘face’, as a choreographed series of attempts.


Vincent Barras (live) (voice/text)
Caroline Bergvall (live) (voice/text/image)
Brandon LaBelle (live) (mouth/objects/tape)
Christof Migone (live) (voice/tongue/face/image)

+ Kim Dawn, “Forced Being Forced” (2001), video, 8:58. In this video her tired laugh persists. This laughter becoming more and more tired, forced, sinister, sarcastic, less laughter and more a tight movement of the jaw to represent laughter, a forceful pressure on the face to laugh even though she may want to spit or sleep. Is this laugh “hers”? Loosing and gaining control over her body, feeling/being watched. Kim Dawn is playing with questions of who owns her body, of bodily control and self-control and fighting for ownership even as a young child when all forces seem against her. She finds meaning and meaningless in repetitious gestures, in forced laughing, breathing-inhaling-exhaling, staring long and still relentlessly into the camera, at once pleadingly accusingly. Made at the Western Front in Vancouver, Canada. Technical Assistant : Sandra Wintner.

+ Scott Russell, “The Anatomy Series (2001), video, 0:51, 0:36, 0:57, 0:24. Anatomies is a series of articulations by a body that desires the poetic, but that has found language to decay inside.


Christof Migone, “Poker” (2001), video, 14:27. To face -face as a verb, a facing in touch, in sound… ocular proximity, closeupsoclose, playing the face, testing the haptic… loudyourface, loudface… noise facials… fissures in the relation—no longer face to face, but somewhere in between being caressed and prodded… poker face—no longer site of expression but site of being expressed… poker, wrinkler, scratcher, prickler, tickler… to hear the face (to make the face), wrinkle the face in sound… touching the loud gaze… scratch, slide, prick, tickle, rub… rhythm the face, loudlooks, noisylooks… louding the face…Pokers explores the relation between, and specifically the import of the face in framing relationships. The relation is performed at a number of levels here, the performer’s hands activate the taciturn faces, they explore and sound them; the surface of the face is inscribed with the depth of the relation between the two involved in the performance—a depth measured by awkwardness. The viewer, in turn, is faced by this configured yet disfigured, alienated yet intimate exchange. Pokers begins with idle faces. Then the hands appear and sound them. At the end the faces return to idle.


Vito Acconci, “Waterways: Four Saliva Studies” (1971), video, 22:57. “Waterways” comprises four minimalist exercises in which Acconci explores the formal, visual and dynamic properties of a body fluid in a controlled performance situation. Using extreme close-ups and amplified sound to force the viewer into the space of his body, he experiments with his mouth as a container for saliva, holding it in as long as possible, trying to catch it in his hands. By using a bodily fluid as art-making material, Acconci pushes the anti-aesthetic of body art to its radical extreme. [text from electronic arts intermix catalog]

undo (Christof Migone and Alexandre St. Onge), “Vito Acconci’s Undoing” (2001), video, 21:43. Based on and inspired by Acconci’s “Waterways: 4 Saliva Studies.” As a duo, undo often focusses on the mouth (but rarely the voice) as site of sound emission, hence undo’s interest in this particular Acconci piece. The piece is divided in two parts, the first features a spit bottle. An audio CD with both the Acconci piece and the remix has been published by the diminutive label, squint fucker press.


Brandon LaBelle, “Speaking in Tongues” (2000), video/audio. To perform speaking as a physical and sonic gesture, the work consists of the action of trying to read aloud while holding a cow’s tongue in my mouth–as a way to complicate the gesture of speech to reveal its grain; yet ultimately emphasizing the schism that ruptures this process–the tension inherent to “speaking as a body (sensuality)” and “speaking as an individual (social behavior)”.