Tuesday 5 May 2020, 7.30pm

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

‘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 performance pieces is part of Woo and Seita’s ongoing collaboration in which they re-stage, re-imagine, or performatively translate work by neglected female artists, musicians, writers, and philosophers, whether their work was intended for performance or not. 

Between lecture-performance and love letter, the pieces forge an imagined collective spanning varied cultural and linguistic backgrounds and historical eras. The works often 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, video, installation, and through translation. / www.sophieseita.com
 
Naomi Woo is a conductor, pianist, and performer. / www.naomiwoo.com

The programme will include

Beethoven Was a Lesbian
in response to Pauline Oliveros

In 1976, Oliveros produced a series of postcards that reframe male composers by using female epithets and witty declarative statements (such as ‘Beethoven Was a Lesbian’, ‘Brahms Was a Two-Penny Harlot’ etc.), as a commentary on the marginal status of women in the music world. She called this project her ‘postcard theater’. Sent to friends, among them the artist and writer Alison Knowles, the postcards not only resonate with mail art and event scores, they also become extensions of queer community and kinship, then and now. We take Oliveros’s subtitle ‘Postcard Theater’ as an invitation to reinvent her photographs and texts as scripts for performance, and treat them as a form of poetic and philosophical thinking. 

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.

REVEILLE
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 and homage to Korean-American filmmaker and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982). In this durational performance, Sophie Seita and Naomi Woo recreate Cha’s poetic pieces Reveille Dans La Brume and from Vampyr using spoken dialogue, projectors, tape recorders, choreography, lights, shadows, and analogue sound. Rather than a re-enactment, the performance—‘awakened in the mist’ of Cha’s elsewhere—is speculative, transformational, and a misty, intimate kinship.

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