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Song in the Expanded Field

On March 23rd 2017, I curated an evening of performance called Song in the Expanded Field at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at NYU.

Taking Rosalind Krauss’s 1978 essay “Sculpture in the Expanded Field” as a point of departure, the evening brought together three artists and writers to consider how songs are operating as material within contemporary performance. What is the promise of song? How do songs gather and disperse political feelings in our contemporary moment? What is the relationship between song and critique? Morgan Bassichis, Mariana Valencia, and I presented recent work alongside one another in an informal evening that aimed to explore the relationship between song, emotion, gender, race, humor, and politics.

Venessa Bravo

Photos of my performance from that night by Charlotte Curtis:

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Charlotte at the Grey Gallery, Part 2

 

Charlotte

Messaging head with knees, ass up. Legs over fingerboard, thighs, slap chords. Spooning, plucking, straddling, turning away.

I’ve had one full beer and two sips of a second.  It’s a Thursday and I’m alone in the apartment.  I just cooked dinner and miraculously didn’t want to die, actually deriving a bit of pleasure in nourishing myself.  Small victory.  A friend texted me that she was feeling fully grumpy and tired and I texted her back that I thought she was brave for letting herself be fully grumpy and tired.

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Pinko in Portland

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I was in residence at Institute for American Art in Portland Maine for two weeks in August working on and performing a piece called Pinko.

 

I made lonely dances, wrote love letters to Marx, planned meetings, and sang songs:

Dear Marx,

I was in a graduate school seminar where we read all of your Grundrisse notebooks.  Towards the end of the seminar, with about two weeks left in the semester, the professor, José Esteban Muñoz, suddenly died.  In a paper I presented in class I quoted letters you sent to Engles and Lasalle while you were working on Grundrisse about how you often felt too sick to write. In the weeks before he died, when none of us knew he was going to die, José sat in front of the class rocking back and forth giving meandering lectures on what we had read, occasionally pausing mid-phrase to gulp down some water from a large plastic SmartWater bottle or say a cutting aside about a text, an artist, a world.  He loved talking about your writing formally—about the semiotic labor of attempting to represent capitalist systems so as to encounter other potentially less violent ways of life.

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Afterwords

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I’ve been working with some poems to find some songs for the past few years. I’m ready to release them/be released by them. They are dear songs, near songs, first songs, loss songs, lost songs. The words are not mine. Perhaps they’ll offer you something. You can download them for free:

here 

and 

here

 

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