We began by laying out a beautiful array of Pushkin press books which had been generously made available for the evening, to root the audience into the space, with the literature of the Habsburg era, and I piped in Webern and Schoenberg over the speakers as people milled. Over a three figure attendance on a dark dank tuesday November night was pleasing.
Sharon Gal, resplendent on stage in an amazing headpiece and backed by morphing video art, took the work of Anton Webern, worked upon it, reworking it into an ethereal piece of sound and then adding her singular voice live, managed to create a moving and powerful song, both a technical and aesthetic achievement. Her absolute command of her medium and her great charisma gave the event its grand beginning.
Marcus Slease followed with some typically brilliant and idiosyncratic poetry that reflected in narrative sweep his experience of the London sunset against the artworks of Max Kurzweil, blending expressionist and existentialist syntax with a unique poetic vernacular.
Then Diane Silverthorne & Ariade Radi Cor collaborated to evoke the milieu of Alma Mahler, Diane excerpted Alma's diary while reflecting on the vivacity and wry innocence of this Habsburg exemplar while Ariadne wrote live calligraphy which both accentuated and evidenced Diane's beautiful words, before propping those artworks up for exhibition.
Dylan Nyoukis was immense in his loyalty to the energy and intensity of Raoul Hausmann, using pure sound poetry alongside feedback tape loops to beast the audience into place, to remind them the breaking of artistic ground is not always cushioning, and that bourgeois platitude has a janus face.
Stephen Emmerson brought his conceptual exactitude and wit to bear with a thrice translations of Rilke. The first, a pill. The second, a seedball, from which Rainer flowers would sprout, And finally, a Rilke cake, baked in poems to translate the great Habsburg poet into human faeces.
& finally the astounding Maja Jantar, with the countenance of of a countess and the force of a cannon finished the night on the highest of notes, a moving, deeply felt rendition of the lives and loves of Lou Andreas Salome in sound.
It made me feel quite proud to be part of this project, to have begun this endeavour with such an exciting group of artists and performances which left me assured that this was a powerful time, this moment now, in London, that reflected upon another from the past. This was always the idea, no nostalgia, little history, no lectures - just vibrant artworks and brilliant artists.
Sharon Gal on Anton Webern https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6agxQkIffE
Marcus Slease on Max Kurzweil https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SbgvuJxV_Q
Diane Silverthorne & Ariadne Radi Cor on Alma Mahler Kakania - Diane Silverthorne & Ariadne Radi Cor on Alma Mahler
Dylan Nyoukis on Raoul Hausmann https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFvV3WAb2WM
Stephen Emmerson on Rainer Maria Rilke https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0SHAWPzENE
Maja Jantar on Lou Andreas Salome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKXjFQ-LFvo