Performances at Arena, 20 Nov 2015 — 22 Nov 2015

Performances at Arena


A series of performances in occasion of 56th Venice Biennale closing.


Isaac Julien
b. 1960 United Kingdom
Das Kapital Oratorio (live readings 30’ each)
Courtesy Galería Helga de Alvear

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 10.30 am – 11.00 am / 5.25 pm – 5.55 pm
November 21st, 10.30 am – 11.00 am / 5.25 pm – 5.55 pm
November 22nd, 10.00 am – 10.30 am

The linchpin of the ARENA program is the Das Kapital Oratorio, an epic live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital (Capital)”. In this meticulously researched bibliographic project, based on the concept of the Sikh event known as the Akhand Path (a recitation of the Sikh holy book read continuously over several days by a relay of readers), “Das Kapital” served as a kind of oratorio read live as a dramatic text by trained actors throughout the exhibition’s seven months’ duration. Accompanying the live reading of Marx’s seminal and still controversial book is a continuous sequence of other oral performances involving the recital of librettos, lyrics, scripts, and the like.

Conceived by Okwui Enwezor with Isaac Julien in collaboration with Mark Nash
Directed by Isaac Julien
Produced by Luz Gyalui
Research and coordination by Tim Roerig
Performed by Ivana Belac, Francesco Bianchi, Elena Bondi, Jacopo Giacomini, Caroline Jones, Jenni Lea Jones, Philip Jones, Ivan Matijašic, Andrea Romano and Steven Varni

Jason Moran & Alicia Hall Moran
b. 1975 / 1973 United States
Work Songs (40’)
Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 4.40 pm – 5.20 pm
November 21st, 4.40 pm – 5.20 pm

Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran’s Work Songs maps and investigates the tempos of work songs sung in prisons, fields, and houses. They have set out to map these work songs both conceptually and emotionally. In the Arena, a solo voice performs a cycle of work songs.

Performed by Rashida Bumbray, Roosevelt André Credit, Lisa E. Harris, Steven Herring, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Alicia Hall Moran, Anthony Mills, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Jamet Pittman and Phumzile Sojola

Jeremy Deller
b. 1966 United Kingdom
Broadsides and Ballads of the Industrial Revolution (20’)
Courtesy the artist and Hayward Gallery, London

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 11.00 am – 11.20 am

Jeremy Deller explores the question of life and working conditions in factories, based on archival materials from the nineteenth century through the present. Deller’s work investigates such issues as the absence of workers’ rights, zero-hour contracts, scheduled work and break hours, and the concept of “work time” through the study and performance of song sheets that were once sold in the streets. These early factory songs were a cross between folk and popular music. Some lyrics are about work in general, while others address working conditions in the factories. Although known as “factory songs,” these lyrics were not likely sung inside the factories themselves, due to the deafening noise of the machinery.

Performed by Sara Bertolucci, Andrea Biscontin, Marco Cisco, Federica Delle Crode, Daniela Gungui, Michael Miazzi, Alessia Pugliati and Jennifer Reid

Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige
b. 1969 Lebanon
Latent Images: Diary of a Photographer (120’)
Courtesy Galerie In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; CRG
Gallery, New York; The Third Line, Dubai

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 11.30 am – 1.30 pm
November 21st, 11.30 am – 1.30 pm
November 22nd, 11.00 am – 1.00 pm

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige present a daily reading of their artist book Latent Images: Diary of a Photographer (2009–2015), the third part of their “Wonder Beirut” project. The book is based on hundreds of reels of film originally exposed, but until now never developed, by the Lebanese photographer Abdallah Farah between 1997 and 2006. Farah’s work bears witness to postwar Beirut, relaying political, social, personal, and everyday events over almost a decade. In this limited-edition volume, the image descriptions replace the photographs; short fragments of text describe the invisible images while creating a new imaginary space. A diverse group of individuals take turns reading the book with their multiplicity of voices. The point is thus to communicate a narrative orally and to displace the notion of latent image in favor of an emergence of the image through the body.

Performed by Pamela Breda, Geoffrey Carey, Joanna Kate Dolan, Nicholas Kahn, Marta Lovatto, Vito Lupo, Adriano Iurissevich, Margherita Manino, Arianna Moro, Ilona Morokina, Eva Maria Ohtonen, Sofia Pauly, Gabriel Pressman, Mattia Stasolla, Isadora Tomasi, and Antonella Tosato

Maja Bajevic
b. 1967 Bosnia
Arts, Crafts and Facts (22’)

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 10.00 am – 10.22 am
November 21st, 10.00 am – 10.22 am

Maja Bajevic presents a video that responds to the denigration of human labor caused by the financialization of the global economy. In the era of finance capitalism, capital separates itself from its concrete breeding ground as it is reinvested in intangible financial products and services. To compose the libretto of Arts, Crafts and Facts, Bajevic investigated the repercussions of world price fluctuations of raw materials such as coffee and cacao on all levels of the economy, from shop prices to stock prices, and from the income of home owners to that of store owners. Recited against the background of an early industrial textile factory founded in the socialist context of former Yugoslavia, the libretto charts the effects of neoliberal speculation on the concrete living conditions of the global working class.

Libretto by Maja Bajevic, Anja Bogojevic and Tijana Vignjevic

Ivana Müller
b. 1972 Croatia
We are still watching (60’)

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 1.45 pm – 2.45 pm
November 21st, 1.45 pm – 2.45 pm

“We Are Still Watching” will be performed by spectators, an instant community of “audience members” that changes with each show. The text is thus completely new and different every time it is performed. For approximately one hour spent in the company of each other reading the script together, the audience forms a community, a mini-society confronted by the challenge of making decisions individually and collectively while “simply” reading a text that someone else has written for them.

Olaf Nicolai
b. 1962 Germany
Non Consumiamo… (to Luigi Nono) (20’)
vocal performances available in twelve backpacks
Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin and Leipzig

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 4.10 pm – 4.30 pm
November 21st, 11.00 am – 11.20 am / 3.00 pm – 3.20 pm
November 22nd, 10.30 am – 10.50 am

Olaf Nicolai presents a newly commissioned work inspired by Luigi Nono’s two-part composition “Un volto, del mare / Non consumiamo Marx” (1969). After Venetian protestors were forcefully evicted from the premises of the 34th Biennale di Venezia in 1968, the Italian composer incorporated audio recordings of those events in “Non consumiamo Marx”. Drawing on Nono’s musical response to the revolutionary uproar of 1968, Nicolai invites performers to react in song to the live reading of Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” in the Arena. Every few days a performer writes and sings a new song, which he or she records with a smartphone. The recordings are then transmitted digitally into a portable backpack system available to Arena visitors. In this way, the work transforms the entire exhibition into a stage on which viewers can assume their roles as actors. Five-minute excerpts from the live performance held during the vernissage are also broadcast in the Arena three times daily.

Performed by Ekkehard Abele, Andreas Fischer, Noa Frenkel, Daniel Gloger, Susanne Leitz-Lorey, Natasha López, Angelika Luz, Truike van der Poel and Pascal Zurek

Charles Gaines
b. 1944 United States
Sound Texts (45’)
Courtesy the artist; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Susanne Vielmetter Projects Los Angeles

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 21st, 3.45 pm – 4.30 pm

Charles Gaines’s new original master composition for the Biennale is derived from his most recent body of work, Sound Texts, a series of large-scale drawings of musical scores from songs, some borrowed from as early as the American Civil War (1860–1865) and others dating from the mid twentieth century. Gaines’s original musical composition is based on five arrangements derived from four Sound Texts works exhibited in All the World’s Futures. The five arrangements will be layered over one another progressively during the course of the monthly performances throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Original composition by Charles Gaines, arrangements for piano and string quartet by Sean Griffin
Performed by Alessandro Fagiuoli (violin), Stefano Antonello (violin), Andrea Amendola (viola), Luca Paccagnella (cello), Alessia Toffanin (piano), Giovanni Deriu (tenor) and Diana Trivellato (soprano)

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc
b. 1977 France
Evil Ni**er, Gay Guerrilla, Crazy Nig**er, For Julius Eastman
(21’ 29’’ / 29’ / 55’)
Courtesy the artist

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 22nd, 4.00 pm – 6.00 pm

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc presents a temporary memorial to the music and personality of the legendary African-American musician, singer, and composer Julius Eastman (1940–1990), whose singular and inimitable contributions to contemporary, avant-garde classical music are on display in the Arena throughout the exhibition. Eastman’s three compositions for four grand pianos—Evil Nigger (1979), Gay Guerrilla (1980), and Crazy Nigger (1980)—are rehearsed and performed live monthly. The audience is even invited to participate in the performance of Crazy Nigger.

Performed by Antoine Alerini, Violaine Debever, Gwendal Giguelay, Tom Grimaud, Anna Jbanova, Lukas Rickli and Sarah Ristorcelli

Sonia Boyce
b. 1963 United Kingdom
Exquisite Cacophony (40’)

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 22nd, 1.10 pm – 1.50 pm

Boyce’s video installation Exquisite Cacophony at the Biennale di Venezia documents a live multivocal performance. With its roots in the modernist idioms of jazz scat singing and Dadaist noise, and in homage to music as a medium of political resistance, the performance is discordant and nonsensical, mixing sound fragments, syllables, patterns, and riffs. Jazz derives from the field hollers and work songs of African-American slave laborers, whose rhythms mingled with ragtime and brass bands, while Dadaist noise responded to the psychological trauma of World War I. Both idioms depart from reason and logic as the mainstays of dominant political regimes and insist that vocal improvisation is a strategic means of autonomy and resistance. For Exquisite Cacophony, Boyce brings together three vocalists who will layer jazz rhythms and Dadaist noise with gospel, hip-hop, indie rock, dub–reggae, disco, folk, and Hindustani music. Their collective ignition of sound ripples across the Venetian lagoon.

Performed by Elaine Mitchener & Astronautalis

Theaster Gates & The Black Monks of Mississippi
b. 1973 United States

Arena, Central Pavilion – Giardini
November 20th, 3.10 pm – 4.00 pm

Organized by Theaster Gates, The Black Monks of Mississippi is an experimental musical ensemble of close collaborators of the artist whom are often joined by musical monks from around the world. They are an order of performers who harmonize the Eastern ideals of melodic restraint with the spirit of gospel in the Black Church and soul of the Blues genre deeply rooted in the American musical tradition. Uniting these diverse spiritual and religious practices, the Black Monks simultaneously achieve holiness and humanness, restraint and ecstasy. Together, they serve to musically enrich and emotionally activate many of Gates’ exhibitions into transcendent and participatory experiences.

Contacts & Details
fri 11/20/15 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; sat 11/21/15 10:00 am – 6:00 pm; sun, sun, sun, sun, sun 11/22/15 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

T: +39 041 5218711

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