These recitative portraits are current works in an ongoing collaborative practice in which Maa, a formalist poet, and Burge, a technology-focused visual artist, seek to draw parallels between verbal and visual rituals, and how the destruction of one affects the other. These works experiment with what materializes when two legendarily prestigious and composed practices collide. By pitting the materiality of portraiture and recitation against each other to lay bare the processes of each, these portraits continue our endeavor to activate and toy with the labor of literary-artistic production that traditionally gets obfuscated in the presentation of art. Images are of the first three performances of a hopefully interminable chain of recitative portraits. The first, "Blind Mouths!," uses "Lycidas" as its text. The second, "What Flowers Are at My Feet," incorporates "Ode to a Nightingale." And the third, "The Sounding Cataract," stages a recitation of "Tintern Abbey."
Dress, Score, Tether.
Dress, Score, Tether was performed on 5 June 2014 as part of Invito Spectatore: Four Collaborations between Poet and Performance Artist, which was hosted at Greene Exhibitions. The other performances included ones by poet Brandon Som and choreographer Rebecca Pappas, the theatre company American Laboratory (Kirin McCrory and Michael Stablein, Jr), and poet Fred Moten and artist Wu Tsang.
Dress, Score, Tether has started a current collaborative project with Mary Burge, a metonymic chain of performances created by a process-driven practice. In general, our collaborations endeavor to activate spaces with the tension between writing and gesture. Maa, a formalist poet, and Burge, a technology-focused visual artist, seek to draw parallels between verbal and visual rituals, and explore how the destruction of one affects the other.
Dress, Score, Tether started with the image of our two bodies counterweighing each other via a cotton tether. With that the dialectical process started: Maa wrote his words, Burge made her dress, and the two talked about, debated often over, the gestures that would underpin the performance. With the piece, we attempted to dismember and re-ritualize our respective daily practices to make a particular space—here a white cube—a sacred, social one, for as Henri Lefebvre wrote, “(Social) space is a (social product).” The remnants of Dress, Score, Tether—the charcoal streaked cotton fabric—are being reworked into the next installation and performance.
This is not concrete poetry per se, but cardboard.
The germinal curiosities that started The Neighboring Lot are 1) the empty lot next to my old apartment building, and 2) the direct connection that I see between Andrew Marvell's "The Garden" and John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn." An undeveloped lot is an anomaly in present day Los Angeles, needless to say in downtown. Apparently an elder Cambodian lady owns the land, a plot family-owned for generations. She moved out to the suburbs decades ago, and is happy to just have it there. All my time at 731 Bernard, it functioned as a neighborhood dogrun, trash heap, and forage sight. What for an intense instance seemed prelapsarian quickly turned to ruin.
This is poetry obviously formalist, materialist, and durational. The poem comprises six stanzas that were placed out in the lot after composition for decomposition at the mercy of nature and man. Here are images of the text before placement.
Sonic activation of Nancy Holt's monumental work. 21 March 2016.