Agape Enterprise is pleased to present an evening of performances and public discussion, All Ears: An event on the order of listening, organized by Hong-An Truong in conjunction with her solo project “To Speak A Language,” which is on view through December 23er, 2012.
It is difficult to describe sound. In one case, when we listen to someone giving a speech, we desire to understand. We are aware of silences and wait for them to signal to us. It is a listening that strives towards a present understanding that is outside of sound. In another case, when we listen to what we call music, the sound itself signifies. In the first case, sound has a tendency to disappear; in the second, sense has a propensity to move towards sound. (Jean Luc-Nancy, 2007).
Instead of hearing, which most often aligns itself on the order of understanding, how can we talk about a visual sound, evoke a form that is sonorous, suggest meaning that is not altogether comprehensible?
An example: the tones in Vietnamese language depend on pitch contour, pitch height, phonation, and length.
ngang is level (mid level)
huyền is hanging (low falling)
sắc is sharp (high rising)
hỏi is asking (mid dipping-rising)
ngã is tumbling (high breaking-rising)
nặng is heavy (low falling, constricted)
What secret is yielded, made public, when we listen to a voice, a sound, an instrument, just for itself? How can we find meaning in resonance?
Cathy Park Hong is a poet based in Brooklyn. Her second collection, Dance Dance Revolution, was chosen for the Barnard Women Poets Prize and was published in 2007 by WW Norton. Her third book of poems, Engine Empire, was published this year by WW Norton. Hong has received many awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and a Village Voice Fellowship for Minority Reporters. Her poems have been published in A Public Space, Poetry, Paris Review, McSweeney's, Harvard Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Denver Quarterly, and other journals. Her writing style has been described to encompass “code-switching,” and is often written in narrative serialization. She is an Assistant Professor at Sarah Lawrence College and is regular faculty at the Queens MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina. She will read a selection of poems.
Christopher Myers is an artist and writer who lives in Brooklyn. He has shown lots of places including PS1, and the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Goethe Institute in Ghana, and a ways back he did the Whitney Program. He travels a lot. He is currently making two small museums. One is for African-Americans who were put on display in the late 1800's. Another is for modern day Odysseuses, the migrants and adventurers, who find themselves working in the back of Korean grocers, or factories on the Bowery. He is writing a collection of essays about censorship as he has encountered it in Saigon, Khartoum, Beijing, Nairobi, and New York, titled "The Ghost Library." In another life he also makes books for children. He will be presenting a selection of texts about the overlapping histories of Richard Pryor and Vaslav Nijinsky.
Simon Leung is an artist who lives in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, NY. His projects in various media include an opera set in Griffith Park; a live/video performance addressing AIDS in the figure of the glory hole; a trilogy on “the residual space of the Vietnam War;” an extended proposal of Duchamp’s oeuvre as a discourse on ethics; and site/situation specific works centered on the squatting body in various cities in Asia, Europe, and America. He teaches at the University of California, Irvine, and is co-editor, with Zoya Kocur, of the anthology Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985 (Wiley-Blackwell 2012). He sometimes writes. He sometimes performs. His piece is a translation that slipped in here without making a sound.
Mendi + Keith Obadike make music, art, and literature. Their work has been commissioned by The Kitchen, Rhizome / The New Museum, The NY African Film Festival with Electronic Arts Intermix, Northwestern University, Bucknell University, the Yale Cabaret, Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), and The Whitney Museum of American Art. They have released two albums on Bridge Records, a book of poetry with Lotus Press, and have two artists’ books to be released this year on 1913 Press. They are currently exhibiting their new 5-part series of sound installations entitled African Metropole: Sonic City and touring their opera-masquerade Four Electric Ghosts. They will read an excerpt from their sci-fi opera The Sour Thunder, a story that takes place between the US and the Dominican Republic, and explores the theme of language as a technology.
Above: screen shot of search terms used to locate Mary Walling Blackburn’s website www.welcomedoubleagent.com on December 4, 2012. She will perform Helene/Hélène, an investigation of two Helenes, conjoined through vocality; an overlooked 1960's Miami Soul Singer will intersect with a late 19th Century Intergalactic Spiritual Medium. The first iteration, Speaking Martian/Miami Soul Scene, was performed at the Curiosity and Method Symposium organized by Cabinet Magazine at Princeton University in April, 2011.
Huong Ngo is an artist and educator, born in Hong Kong and based in Brooklyn. Her work examines the generative potential of collective creative processes, particularly around issues of social justice. She is currently collaborating with a group called Fantastic Futures (founded by artists, designers, doctors, activists and students in the US and Iraq) which explores the ways that media can facilitate exchange between nations in conflict. Their work spans online platforms, live performances, and currently a critical reading and writing group. They are supported by Rhizome and The New Museum. Ngo recently completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in Studio Art, teaches at Parsons The New School for Design, and will present new work in an upcoming solo show at Vox Populi, Philadelphia. Ngo will read a short text to a sound piece in which she reflects upon acts of listening, espionage, and family trauma.
Hong-An Truong, the organizer of the event, ALL EARS: An event on the order of listening, is an artist based in New York and North Carolina. Ken Johnson of The New York Times once called Truong’s multi-channel video installation that used archival footage of Vietnam during French colonialism “frustratingly vague.” She is currently working on a video and sound installation about the historical parallel between the premiere of The Rite of Spring and the emergence of cải lương, a hybrid form of Vietnamese opera with roots in French popular drama and Chinese opera theater that was used subversively to communicate anti-colonial sentiments. She has exhibited her various media-based works and performances widely, including places like PAVILION in Bucharest, Art in General in New York, and recently at Green Papaya Projects in Manila. Truong participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program and currently spends much of her time teaching at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
↳ going back to
"To Speak A Language"
Agape Enterprise, 56 Bogart Street, Suite 1Q, Brooklyn, NY 11206, 718-417-0037, Fri-Sun 12-6pm