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Saturday March 16 | Session 13:15 - 14:45 (15 min)
De Brakke Grond | Rode Zaal
We propose to present two poetic performance pieces by Korean-American filmmaker and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (1951-1982)—From Vampyr (1976) and Reveille Dans La Brume (1977)—using spoken dialogue, projectors, tape recorders, choreography, lights, and analog sound.
The performances date from early in Cha’s career: From Vampyr was performed in Paris in 1976 where Cha was a student at the Centre d'Etudes Americaine du Cinema (studying with Monique Wittig), and Reveille Dans La Brume the following year at the San Francisco Art Institute Annual. The texts remained unpublished until 2010 when they were included in a small-press anthology of Poets Theatre, and no conclusive record or documentation of the original performances remains. The pieces intervene in a number of different media and genres, blending poetry, sound, film-script, performance, and a study of cinema. Cha was deeply influenced by critical theory and film theory and we understand her performance pieces to be a form of poetic thinking—theory in the form of a script for performance.

The texts themselves reflect on borders, insides, outsides, (in)visibility, and thus also obliquely reference Cha’s own marginal status as an immigrant and female artist in the US. We view the limited availability of performance documentation as an opportunity for reimagining the relationship to the past and the nature of re-enactment. By performing these pieces, rather than merely reading them, we create an environment for new, embodied, and altered forms of knowing. In this way, our performance enacts an engaged intoxication.

Even though she is slowly gaining notice from critics, Cha’s work remains little known outside of a small circle. Her early death, as well as the racism and misogyny of the art world, prevented her from greater institutional recognition. Performance is not only a powerful form of homage or recuperation, but also our way of thinking through and with her work, acknowledging the unconventional nature of her creative and critical interventions.

Sophie Seita is an artist and researcher whose practice spans text-based work, performance, video, and multimedia collaborations. Her work has been presented at Art Night London, the Royal Academy, Bold Tendencies (London), the Arnolfini, La MaMa Galleria (NYC), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), Parasol Unit (London), Company Gallery (NYC), and elsewhere. She’s the author of three poetry books, the translator of Uljana Wolf’s Subsisters: Selected Poems (Belladonna, 2017), and the editor of a facsimile reprint of The Blind Man (UDP, 2017). Her first critical book Provisional Avant-Gardes: Little Magazine Communities from Dada to Digital is forthcoming from Stanford UP in 2019.

Naomi Woo is a pianist, conductor, and researcher, currently pursuing a PhD at Clare College as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. With Sasha Amaya, she runs tick tock, which has staged choreographic and musical performances at venues including Somerset House (London), aceartinc. (Winnipeg), Das Kapital (Berlin), Spectrum (NYC) and the Academy of Performing Art (Prague). Naomi holds a BA in mathematics & philosophy from Yale University, and performance degrees from Yale and Université de Montréal. She is a core convenor of Performance Philosophy.
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