Speech Practice

Disassembling Voice
Check the way that the first sounds you hear from Jackson are not words but inhuman asignifying hiccups and yelps, as if he is gasping for air, or learning to speak English again after some aphasic episode.
Mark Fisher on Michael Jackson's song "Billie Jean"

A vocal tick is played out, an intensity that concerns the difference between voice and speech. Following Fisher's suggestions the inhuman hiccups and yelps of Jackson's Billie Jean can neither be incorporated within the word completely nor can they be strictly separated from it. The inhuman voice circling around the lyrics won't find its end with speech. Appearing in language its articulation seems to fall apart at once. However, as if coming forth from an aphasia, a temporary loss of the capacity to speak, offers Jackson's disassembling gesture a space within language that affects the possibility of signification as well.

Bearing in mind the work of Michael Jackson in its many different and difficult aspects Speech Practice: Disassembling Voice, a two-day rehearsal, departs from the linguistic intensity of Billie Jean. These first sounds of Jackson's song will form the repetitious, though silent focus throughout the six sessions on March 3/4. What could it mean to enter this space introduced with Jackson's vocal gesture in dancing? What kind of images are constituted along its articulation? Can Jackson's disassembling voice be written? What complicity of language suggests its experience?

The rehearsal space at IASPIS will be arranged as a place for writing and dance. Both places will also have an online presence on the Wiki of the Department of Reading in the form of a script and a tableau of images. By means of writing and dance the rehearsal aims at an experience of voice in a temporal and spatial structure that disassembles the performative articulation once more. Just like Jackson's vocal tics, the acts of dance and writing will be approached as phenomena of flow and flux exposing an overlapping rhythm of movements and stills.

Speech Practice: Disassembling Voice takes place in the project room of IASPIS on March 3/4, 2010, starting each day at 10 am. Together with Sönke Hallman and Achim Lengerer a group of writers and dancers will be working on the question of the voice in part online or at IASPIS. Invited guests are: Ingrid Cogne (choreographic artist, Stockholm), Anders Jacobson (dancer, Stockholm), Tanja Widmann (artist, curator and author, Vienna) and Inga Zimprich (artist and curator, Berlin). Speech Practice: Disassembling Voice is divided into four closed and two public sessions. The public rehearsals are open to participation, each day running from 4-7 pm. If you would like to attend on one of these two days, please send us an e-mail until February 28 to receive further informations.

Speech Practice: Disassembling Voice is part of the project Ongoing propositions under different conditions by Sönke Hallmann and Achim Lengerer. Instead of applying a consistent form, this series stages acts of writing, dance and speech in parallel. This separation aims at furthering the gaps, elements of coincidence and repetition of the rehearsal. It invites to address material in a performative manner.

SCRIPTINGS will publish the material coming forth from Speech Practice: Disassembling Voice as its #10th issue on the occassion of the Open House at IASPIS taking place March 26/27, 2010.