A note on: the last soundings, performing with the great Phil Minton

An amazing privilege it was to perform an improvised vocal work with Phil Minton last October at Kings Place in London. The video of that work is now public, beautifully shot by Ed Prosser.

For over fifty years Phil Minton has been performing, singing, vocalising around the world. He absolutely has shaped, even defined, free vocalisation and improvised sound poetry since WWII. To get to work with him for the first time, with no prior preparation, no conversation about what we'd do before the performance even, was such an honour, and beautiful / terrifying in equal measure. So important for me to feel I'm crossing over with the greats of previous generations

A note on: Soundings #6 with Sharon Gal

The Soundings project comes to an end for the time being this October with the 7th instalment and the end of the Hubbub residency and I've had an extraordinary time collaborating with 6 artists so far, the latest being Sharon Gal, a major figure on the London experimental music scene since the late 80s.

This is a work I'm very proud of. Sharon's work has been a real influence on me, so it was brilliant to work so closely with her developing a series of performances, embedded in some unusual and industrial / suburban hidden spots of west london, for film. Again working with Ed Prosser, who has filmed most of soundings to great effect, we spent a brilliant day roaming from Kilburn to Kensal, along the grand union canal and into wormwood scrubs, playing with soundscapes, found sounds and instruments. We utilised the possibilities of film, performing in scenes of a sort, to create something original in the edit. Such a privilege to have this opportunity, and once again responding to materials given by Wellcome Library in response to prompts given by Hubbub curators.

A note on: A Language Art - teaching at Tate Modern

An amazing experience, to continue my work with Tate Modern after a Talking Performance, to teach a six week course, each lesson in a different gallery, surrounded by the works being referred to. I had the privilege to share ideas, concepts, history and methodologies that cross both avant-garde writing and modern art, from Concrete poetry to Asemic writing, from Sound poetry to Collectives, from the Painted word to Poster art, to show how interlinked they are, how fundamental to both arts (even if one has embraced the theoretical, emotional, social and political developments of the latter 20th and early 21st century, and the other hasn't). The course was global and allowed me to explore further than ever before the profound reasons behind most of the innovation so definitional to the work I am most excited by. We even had a session in the Tate stores and I was able to bring out original artworks / poems by Henri Michaux, Christian Dotremont, Karel Appel, Cy Twombly, RB Kitaj, Jenny Holzer, Tom Phillips, Ian Hamilton Finlay and others who have influenced me so much. The course was attended by particularly generous and sophisticated artists, poets, book makers and people in advanced study, so it was a engaged, full of new works and ideas and really generously supported by an brilliant curatorial staff at Tate Modern, led by Joseph Kendra. Really a pleasure to do, I gained much from the weeks and a privilege to share those hours in Tate Modern with fellow artists. www.stevenjfowler.com/alanguageart

EVP review on a younger theatre

http://www.ayoungertheatre.com/review-electric-voice-phenomena/      Have you ever been to a séance? Have you ever been tempted to try to contact the other side? Have you ever felt the presence of some ethereal being? Or have you always been the sensible, cynical type that thinks all of that is rot? Well, either way, the boundary-pushing, ground-breaking and dimension-rattling cabaret that is Electronic Voice Phenomena will certainly make you question the beliefs you hold most dear. Electronic Voice Phenomena combines experimental technology, literature, music and performance in a show that focuses, quite bluntly, on death and the afterlife. The project is inspired by the notorious ‘Breakthrough’ experiments conducted by Konstantin Raudive in the 1970s, where he captured voices-from-beyond in electronic noise.

This show is unique. It is not easy, not always clear and certainly not easily comprehensible. But it is fascinating. The wordsmith SJ Fowler acts almost like a compere, being the through line, almost a reference point that keeps the audience anchored into the proceedings. This is very useful, and makes the show nicely coherent. He tells us that he is a conduit the spirits use to contact the living, flipping the perception that it is only the living that tries to contact the dead. He also introduces the idea of a kind of electronic empathy that the living can find with the dead. These are complex concepts that are gradually elaborated on........
........The show always comes back to SJ Fowler. He really stands out of the crowd as an extraordinary performer and poet. The climax of his show comes in a mind-blowing, deeply unsettling and ultimately haunting moment when he is overwhelmed by the bottled resentment he has in him and by the voices of the ghosts that are taking over his head.
It must be said that this show is an acquired taste. There are moments when the art is more about the artist than it is about the audience, and this can make it hard to find a way in. That said, the experimentation in this show is amazing to watch, and the way it deals with such a difficult subject in a head on way is commendable. The show makes the audience feel in a way that most theatre doesn’t. It accesses a fundamental, animalistic emotional response to the material that is hard to explain. And this kind of experiential theatre is incredibly rare. If Electronic Voice Phenomena comes to a theatre near you on its tour, don’t miss it.