Performance

First into performance through the literary reading now within the various traditions - an article detailing this process here commissioned by the International Literature Showcase. Performances coming by way of commission, collaboration and missed opportunity.

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Talking Performances

Child of a salesman, and able to speak quicker than I can think, naturally distrustful then of my own capability to express at pace, bombarding with words. These pieces, ranging from the combative to the comedic, attempt to examine the persuasive context of speech, its manipulative and fraught relationship with truth and belief and how language is heard. They are mostly entirely improvised.

Commissions from Tate Modern, Austrian Cultural Forum London, Marsden Woo Gallery, Airwaves Festival Iceland.


Sounds of Dancing

Always collaborative, these pieces range from the conceptual and playful to the more physical and abstract, and though multifarious draw from the interrelationship of touch sound and sound - specifically how the proximity of bodies, male and female, is prefigured, explored and expressed in sound. The pieces tend to also explore audience discomfort, or reaction, to touch and proximity, and engage with dance in the most limited and brut manner. Works with Maja Jantar, Zuzana Husarova, Camilla Nelson, Ásta Fanney Sigurðardóttir


Pugilistica

A paralysing concern about appearing foolish led me to seek what felt like an authentic way into performance art, without the tether of literature, for the first time. Having practised martial arts from childhood and it having been my profession for a number of years, these performances are a reflective of this comfort, recontextualised to the gallery or exhibited space. By and large they are about physical limitation, about how rapidly masculine display ebbs away in the face of exhaustion. www.stevenjfowler.com/fights/


The Soundings Project

A collaboration with Wellcome Library, commissioned as part of Wellcome Collection's first Hubbub residency - Soundings was a series of collaborative sound poetry and sonic art performances held in seven different venues in the city of London. Each edition of Soundings began with Wellcome librarians suggesting images, manuscripts and books from the Library’s collections in response to a title initiated by Hubbub curators. These sources form the basis of a theme, or are responded to, in each of the collaborative public performances. Much much more at http://www.stevenjfowler.com/soundings


Material Destruction

From a series of works exploring the perceived preciousness of the book and the giving of gifts to an audience, via multiple book destructions, to a commission for the Free Riga festival, about the violence of abandoned spaces protected from use, this set of performances have been marked by often quite confrontational metholodologies. An attempt to deconstruct objects around the literary reading or performance space, to suggest to the audience an attentiveness to our proximity, to my presence and its potential threat, and to shine a light on that which appears solid and constant but is not. Commissions from London Book Fair, Cafe Oto, Stanza Festival, Berlin Poetry Festival and others.


Electronic Voice Phenomena

EVP was a commission from Mercy and Penned in the Margins for a unique touring show of avant garde performance, music and poetry that was followed up with individual performance commissions, spanning May 2013 to November 2015. A formative experience for my more theatrical performance work, the tour visited The Sage in Gateshead, St Georges Hall in Liverpool amongst other amazing venues. For the show I performed a near hour long descend into auditory madness, beginning as a compare of sorts, ending up a furious mess. Much much more here www.stevenjfowler.com/evp


ReIllumination performances

A series of performances responding to, or utilising, or celebrating other authors and their life / work. From a theatrical rewriting of Cesar Vallejo commissioned for Hay Festival in Arequipa, Peru (his home nation), to a rendition of Aleksandr Wat's My Century for the Milosz Festival in Krakow, Poland. These are the live versions of the rewriting, reinterpreting, stealing and homaging which so litter my written poetry.


Fourth Wall performances

Documentation of my live work is a key facet of my practise. While I understand those who stake their performances on ephemerality, I do not. It was inevitable that when worrying about context, really being active in context over content, or alongside, that the camera's eye itself would become part of my performance. Not only does it create a unique communication to the viewer on youtube, addressing them in a way they rarely are in the performance context, but it releases the audience through relegation. They are props to be moved for the film.


Water performances

Responding to a commission at Somerset House about the purchase of water cannon's by the London mayor's office and a performance at the Library of Water in Iceland two years later, these works are about the fragility of the human body, its voice under respiratory distress and the potential menace of an element that is often considered benign in its ubiquity. You can drown in a inch of water.


Liverpool Biennial performances

Thanks to curator Nathan Jones and via his Mercy organisation and the Syndrome series, I've presented three newly commissioned performances pieces at Liverpool Biennial 2012 and 2014, with the third in the series at Liverpool Music Week 2011.

All three explored anger and amplification, though ranging from piece to piece, technology and physicality were constituent elements of all three.


Action Painting

The visual mark has always been secondary to the auditory mark in my instinctual creative gestures, so while the notion of a live painting or action painting is undoubtedly well trodden ground, its use in the literary context remains an interesting gesture. Do we attend writing? Have we ever paid to see a writer write? And even the painter at work is still cloaked in myth and fear.


Improvised vocalisation

Sound poetry, vocal improvisation, wonked singing - beginning from my time in the Writers Workshop and an early exposure to sound poems in the European avant garde style I've had the privilege to collaborate with those in the experimental music scene, to learn from them, and expand, and make serious, my work in this area.

 

Full List of Performances : 2011 to 2017

Updates coming soon