WOLVERHAMPTON LITERATURE FESTIVAL
FRIDAY 26TH - SUNDAY 28TH JANUARY 2018
TIM JARVIS - WHEN CUT, THE PRESENT YOU LEAKS OUT INTO THE FUTURE
(Collaboration between Timothy J. Jarvis and Steven Shade (sevendeaths/American Men)
WOLVERHAMPTON ART GALLERY
Sunday 28th January at 7:30PM
This performance will explore the viral nature of the word by using analogues of chance evolution and infection to transform language into sound. The incantation of a digitally randomised version of a text by writer Timothy J. Jarvis will be manipulated into noise by musician Sevendeaths. The core of the sound will be created by split-second decisions, where the word, the timbre of the voice, becomes the soundtrack, smeared into grainy drone and twisted into random melodies.
This piece follows in a tradition of the deliberate exploitation of the random in art – in music, the shifting and unstable compositions of serialism and indeterminacy; and, in literature, the aleatory processes, games and constraints of the Surrealists, Situationists, and members of OuLiPo, and the cut-ups of Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs.
For Burroughs, his cut-ups were not just a literary technique – they also had the power of augury, for, ‘When you cut into the present the future leaks out.’
For Burroughs too, language is a parasitic virus, humans its unfortunate hosts. ‘Modern man,’ he writes, ‘has lost the option of silence. Try halting sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.’
And as the psychologist Kenneth J. Gergen has described, the action of the word on the mind can lead to the break down of a single, coherent self. He writes: ‘Increasingly we emerge as the possessors of many voices. Each self contains a multiplicity of others, singing different melodies, different verses, and with different rhythms. Nor do these many voices necessarily harmonize. At times they join together, at time they fail to listen one to another, and at times they creates a jarring discord.’
This performance will attempt to harness that swell of competing voices. It will be a sonic and linguistic requiem for the lost self, a vatic rite to cast into the future and call up the scintillating, decoherent, fragmented Other, a litany to appease it.