Raise and Un-Raise Your Voices! Choirs in Moving Images
Program series curated by Marietta Kesting and Constanze Ruhm
The ability to produce musical and rhythmic sounds is shared by people, machines, and animals, in particular birds. This lecture, film, and live performance program presents historical and contemporary (protest) choirs, “singing plays,” and experiments in image and sound over three evenings in the mumok cinema. Alongside questions on performative aesthetics and historical reference to orality, as well as the tension between liveness and technical recordings and the acts of utterance and listening, we also here see significant experimental arrangements of a social artistic practice that primarily operates by someone “raising their voice.” Doing this collectively or alone is always also a political act. Influenced by different sound strategies deployed by musicians, artists, academics, and also machines, here appeals and proclamations, invocations, incantations, and interrogations become audible, visible, and tangible.
Locally and internationally, there are very diverse experiments with choirs and (live) performances at the interface of art, music, and moving image, using manifold forms of overlap, such as in works from the Afro-American context by Jace Clayton (Omnipresence), installations by younger Austrian artists like Marlies Pöschl, and performances by the queer-feminist choir Mala Sirena that was founded by Constanze Ruhm and Florian Paul Ebner. While in political actions you may cast your vote or abstain, in a choir you keep your own voice which is added to other voices and thus temporarily becomes part of a multivocal collectivity. In choral format and their many different new interpretations, new collectivities and cooperatives are thus tested. Feminist and queer artistic practice, which was often accompanied by demands for recognized and inclusive visibility, is now partly expanded by formats of audibility, of loud protest, and also a new politics of pleasure, singing “against power and injustice.”
Part 3 on Wednesday, December 7, 7 pm
RESONANCE / ALGORITHMS
This program collects works that take themes such as resonance and echo as the starting point for staging the relations between analogue and digital algorithmic forms of visual and sonic recording and presentations methods. The culmination of the program is a performance by the queer-feminist choir MALA SIRENA, presenting a medley as an echo chamber of the whole series: appeal, empowerment, invocation, protest, echo, and collectivity. Des souffles, tout simple comme le vent by Marlies Pöschl is a performance film that imagines a possible future of care work and various intra-actions with objects that surround us. Together with the choir la Clé des chants, a group of senior citizens use their voices to interact with live electronics. This composition is the result of a collaborative project with the performers, whereby the composition interacts with the sounds, tones, and noises of the machines that the senior citizens are surrounded by in their everyday routines. The film This Year’s Girl by İpek Hamzaoğlu, Laura Nitsch, and Sophie Thun (produced by the Hekate Film Collective) tells of a fictitious collective named images of / off images, working on a commissioned documentation in film and photographs of artist Renate Bertlmann’s contribution to the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019. The members of this collective, represented by the filmmakers themselves, become the observers of their own observations. It thus becomes clear how unclear the borders between art and commissioned work, document and fiction, work and leisure, and collective, collaborative, and individual work really are. And last but not least, the choir MALA SIRENA stands before a camera: “Being part of a choir is just another way to work collectively. Where the result becomes so much more than voices adding up, in other words, one voice upon another voice upon another voice. Rather, they rise in a polyphony together that becomes a body larger than their individual parts. The camera—sometimes in the rhythm of the choir’s sound—pans across the room, at times almost beyond recognition, just to stop on one of the faces. The imagery could be read as a metaphor for modes of listening to a choir, where only rarely a singular voice can be distinguished from the multitude. Only plurality is able to create this specific kind of music, and more distinctly, this very specific kind of film.“ (Juliane Saupe).
Marlies Pöschl, Simple whistles, just like wind, 2020, 20 min
İpek Hamzaoğlu, Laura Nitsch, Sophie Thun (Hekate Film Collective), This Year’s Girl, 2020, 52 min
MALA SIRENA, Algorithms, Apps and Echoes, 2022, live performance
Introduced by Marietta Kesting and Constanze Ruhm, followed by a conversation with İpek Hamzaoğlu, Laura Nitsch, Marlies Pöschl, and Sophie Thun
Thousand eyes watch earth from above
covered in the dirt of algorithms
Echos’ body dispersed across the planet
in shards and
though re-trained and synthesized anew
now in a new and spectral shape
Let’s just get off the internet
so we can see her for real
perhaps hear her
just for a moment
Referenzen: Holly Herndon, Janelle Monae, Meredith Monk, Space Lady, Dusty Springfield, Le Tigre, FKA TWIGS u. a.
Constanze Ruhm is an artist, filmmaker, author, and curator. Since 2006 she has been professor for art and media at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Marietta Kesting is a media and art theorist, presently teaching at the University of Potsdam, and she is part of the publication platform b_books.
İpek Hamzaoğlu is an artist, filmmaker, and cultural worker. Her work revolves around the representation of collective melancholy, the potential of community knowledge, and gossip. Her work has been shown recently in Mardin Biennial, Kunsthalle Bern, Pera Museum, Istanbul, and Blickle Kino (Vienna).
Laura Nitsch is an artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer. Influenced by narratives on social class and queerness, she is interested in practices of storytelling, moving image production, and archiving. Her work has been shown at mumok Vienna, Kunsthalle Bern, NGBK Berlin, Grey Noise Dubai, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Blickle Kino (Vienna), and the Internet. In 2020 she received the Theodor Körner Award.
Marlies Pöschl is an artist, filmmaker, curator, and lecturer. Most recently her works were shown at Kunstverein Ludwigshafen (2022) and at Salzburger Kunstverein (2021). In 2021 she received the Förderpreis der Stadt Wien and a residency at Akademie Schloss Solitude.
Sophie Thun is an artist working primarily with techniques of analog photography, its spaces, processes, and conditions of production and exhibition. Her work has been exhibited at Kim? Contemporary Art Center (Riga), Secession (Vienna), Kunstverein Hildesheim, Kunsthalle Bratislava, Camera Austria (Graz), and Museo MACRO (Rome). She works in the sculpture department of Kunstuniversität Linz.