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WOLVERHAMPTON LITERATURE FESTIVAL

FRIDAY 26TH - SUNDAY 28TH JANUARY 2018

TIM JARVIS - WHEN CUT, THE PRESENT YOU LEAKS OUT INTO THE FUTURE

WOLVERHAMPTON ART GALLERY

Sunday 28th January at 7:30PM

FREE ENTRY

 

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The haphazard has long been important in art – the happy accident, the contingent detail that brings the work to life. But in the twentieth century, artists in many mediums began deliberately cultivating the random. In music, serialism and indeterminacy gave rise to shifting and unstable pieces composed according to unconscious or inhuman processes. In literature, the Surrealists, Situationists, members of OuLiPo, and Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs with their cut-ups, used aleatory processes, games and constraints. For Burroughs, his cut-ups 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 explore the word’s viral nature by using analogues of chance evolution and metastatic spread to transform language into sound. The incantation of digitally randomised text will be manipulated into noise by analogue computations. 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. 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.

 

 

 

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