Tuesday 28 June 2022, 8pm

Sophie Seita & Naomi Woo – Beethoven Was a Lesbian, and Other Pieces

No Longer Available

‘Let us call this "temporal drag," with all of the associations that the word "drag" has with retrogression, delay, and the pull of the past upon the present.’ – Elizabeth Freeman

This series of pieces is part of Woo and Seita’s ongoing collaboration, which re-imagines and translates the work of neglected historical female and queer artists, musicians, writers, and philosophers into experimental performances that blend music, poetry, research, and live art.

Between lecture-performance and love letter, their performances forge an imagined collective spanning varied cultural, historical, and linguistic backgrounds. These works reflect on borders, being seen or obscured—on screen and off, taking up space in language and with one’s body, oppositions in pendulum, on keeping time, dwelling on words, what eludes our perception, what we can and can’t grasp, and how to stay awake to the mist.

Sophie Seita is an artist working with text and sound on the page, in performance, and through video and translation. / www.sophieseita.com

Naomi Woo is a conductor, pianist, and performer. / www.naomiwoo.com

Featuring special guests Rhodri Karim (http://rhodrikarim.co.uk/) and Reylon Yount (https://reylon.co/)

Supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council, and a Seeding Space Bursary by London Performance Studios.

Programme Notes

Beethoven Was a Lesbian
in response to Pauline Oliveros

In 1974, Pauline Oliveros collaborated with her friend Alison Knowles on a series of postcards containing witty declarative statements such as ‘Beethoven Was a Lesbian’ and ‘Brahms Was a Two-Penny Harlot’. This ‘postcard theatre’, as they called it, took cynical aim at the marginal status of women in music and demanded an alternative proposition. Sent to friends, the postcards remind us of mail art and event scores, but importantly also become extensions of feminist and queer community, then and now. Seita and Woo take Oliveros and Knowles’s ‘postcard theater’ as an invitation to reinvent their photographs and texts as scripts for performance. These postcards also lead them to other queer women who worked to expand what we mean by listening and who join them in a musical and poetic séance.

Through playful dialogue and promiscuous citation, the performance seduces the tropes of classical music in order to dominate them. Performers conduct and are conducted, listen, flirt, sing, play, recline, read, die tragically, and bask in the soprano’s voice.

in response to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

be gone
leave no trace
be lost to view
pass out of sight

REVEILLE is a multi-media performance piece in homage to Korean-American filmmaker and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982), in which Seita and Woo recreate Cha’s poetic piecesReveille Dans La Brumeandfrom Vampyrusing spoken dialogue, analogue projection, tape recorders, choreography, lights, shadows, and analogue sound. Rather than a re-enactment, the performance—‘awakened in the mist’ of Cha’selsewhere—is speculative, transformational; touched by a misty intimacy.

lumiere  ombre

In addition to original work by Seita and Woo, the programme will also include:
Remembering Schubert by Ann Southam
Moment Musical in F minor by Franz Schubert, dictated to Rosemary Brown