Total Poetry and Contestation, by Marcus Bergner & Myriam Van Imschoot

Application deadline, March 31
Workshop April 24-26, from 14h to 18h
Soirée Performance-Screening-Conversation, April 27, 7 p.m
Espaço Alkantara

The Total Poetry and Contestation Workshop is part of Expanded Practices All Over a cycle of 3 international encounters in format ‘workshop-lecture-performance’, organized by Paula Caspão and the Centre for Theatre Studies / FCT, between April 2019 and April 2020.

The Total Poetry and Contestation workshop follows a format that we devised to teach over the last years in art schools and festivals. In our approach we treat students as collaborators, with whom we make and perform, often from day one. The framework allows us to switch between different disciplines and artistic practices, and, in so doing, we access fluid and poetic strategies for engaging with manifestations of ‘sound poetry’ and voice art in tune with the needs of the hosting context and the concerns of the moment.

‘Total Poetry’ is a term polemically coined by the Italian poet Adriano Spatola in his groundbreaking book Toward Total Poetry, as he was “looking for a total medium, in escape of the limitations of poetry, so that it could include theater, photography, music, painting, typography, cinematic techniques and every other aspect of culture which may serve an utopian ambition to revitalise and reformulate art”. For us it offers a two-way street. If Spatola looked from within poetry to the other arts, one can equally commute from the other arts to poetry as a resource to experiment with the in/comprehensible, sensical, nonsensical, perceptive potential of language and its performative capacities.

The underpinning belief to our approach is that our communication systems are ruled by normative power structures (inherent to language), which call for contestation and revisioning. Rhetorics have become subverted by politics and poetry has been (ab)used by publicity industries. In opposition to such terror, we embrace different sense-makings on the verge of the murmur, the stammer, the singsong, the love scream or post-verbal wordlessness (Stefan Hertmans). As opposed to the power of authority we tap the force of libidinal voicing. We are not alone in such an endeavor: in the workshop we map out allies and inspirations, with case studies, readings, screenings of source material from Russian ‘organic futurism’ and other movements of contestation and avant-garde practice.
All in all, the workshop proposes to rethink vocal agency from a wider array of positions to inhabit and unsettle.

How to apply

To take part in the workshop, send us a couple of lines about your motivation (up to 250 words) and a short bio (up to 150 words) before March 31:
Notifications of acceptance will be sent by April 5, and confirmed upon payment of a registration fee: 40€

The workshop happens mainly in English, so make sure you are comfortable with it.

The engagement includes availability to participate in the soirée on the 27th of April – as a performer in the outcome of the workshop, or as a spectator and (potential) participant in the conversation that will take place afterwards.

Artists Bio 

Myriam Van Imschoot is a Brussels-based performance artist, mostly working with oral documents and vocal practices, embracing the media of performance, literature, sound poetry and video. Her work was shown across Europe in musems, galeries and festivals. Currently her film on the youyou (‘Le Cadeau’ 2018) can be seen in various film festivals and arts centers in Europe and Asia. Last year she directed Splash!, in collaboration with Christine De Smedt, a piece for the swimming pool that involved 55 participants.

Marcus Bergner is an Australian artist and filmmaker now living and working in Brussels. His experimental films are distributed by Light Cone in Paris, and the German Film Archives in Berlin. He has performed and exhibited work in the field of sound poetry throughout Europe and Australia, and his most recent solo performance was part of ‘The Autobiographical” at Performance aan de Laan, in Rotterdam. He is a member of the Australian sound poetry group Arf Arf.

More information

CLANGUAGE. A web publication by Arf Arf.

What Nature Says. A vocal performance by Myriam Van Imschoot.

Le Cadeau. A recent film by Myriam Van Imschoot.