THAT THE BODY IS A CHORUS, BOUND TO DISAPPEAR
With Florence Jung, Luzie Meyer and the International Necronautical Society
Curated by Alessia Volpe
«Listen: the world is a sign of restless visibility, greater than six miles.»
We wanted to become extinct spectacularly. We didn’t want to live and lament, we didn’t want to have time to kiss
tomorrow goodbye. We hoped we would breathe painfully because of a dangerously approaching planet sucking
our atmosphere; we have seen too many films, read too many books, and played too many video games, we
were expecting the Big Boom. «Hold my hand. Close your eyes». We wanted to disappear completely, suddenly,
irreversibly 1), to remain only in the memory of security cameras —the ones we hated so much— for some future
species to watch and unlearn. But as it turns out, disappearance is a process. How long will it take though? How
long did it take for the chorus to disappear? Since while we were crying over closed discotheques, the robots were
learning how to dance. And since what is worse is, more than nihilistic, we are a narcissistic club, dying to be the
one that ends history.
«Listen: Babble of voices, 90.3 MHz, internal party dissonance. Several highs from the Atlantic to the Baltic.
Ring tones in commercials and screaming hosts of the new generation.»
«Listen: Risperidone and Bupropion for new-onset depression with psychotic features,
Filtering the voice of America. Withered into the air.»
We were the chorus and we moved on stage in a homogeneous group, dancing, singing, and speaking our lines in
unison, commenting with a common voice on the dramatic action. We were the wise elders of Thebes, the Satyrs
slaves to a Cyclops, the Trojan women, a host of avenging Erinyes. We were fifty, acting as the main performer in
relation to a solitary actor, but in time our importance declined; Aeschylus lowered our number to twelve, then
Sophocles raised it again to fifteen, until we eventually disappeared. The chorus was a body and, while forced
outside the stage —and the exhibition space—, the body was terrorised of the other bodies, trapped inside its
own brain, memory dangerously blending with imagination 2), as if Charlie Brooker and Charlie Kaufman were
scriptwriting together the effects of some sort of collective doomsday delusion.
«Listen: Stockholm, within the umbra, 08:40–09:42. Brain injury to the right cerebral hemisphere,
dark river-nymph, her name is Echo, and she always answers back, expressed in Terrestrial Dynamic Time.
Tomorrow will be three minutes and fifty-seven seconds longer.»
«Listen: Ovid 251 Fight the Chimera. Winds aloft extended decode. Seminole.
Going once going twice.»
We constantly expect certain movements and outcomes, as human beings, as part of human interaction,
communication, and space. And now that the body is back 3), exhibition spaces are asked to fulfil their raison
d’être, to provide some form of spectacle. But this show is a disposition of disappearances; and this text is also a
product of disappearance —of mediation? of curating?—, refusing to offer information about the way the work
is to be perceived. «Life on Earth is evil». One might consider this catharsis, an emotional cleansing of the art
spectator. The art exhibition as event, let’s hold it in abeyance, as potentiality, for a little longer.
There is nothing to see here. It is just a plant and flower shop.
«Listen: between cities, countries, and continents, we are going to crash.»
1) Luzie Meyer recorded the five-voice madrigal “Lamento d’Arianna”, from “L’Arianna” by Claudio Monteverdi. It is the
second opera by the Italian composer and one of the earliest operas in general, first performed in 1608 as part of the musical
festivities for a royal wedding at the court of Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga in Mantua.
The lament follows Ariadne and Theseus’ flee from Crete, where they had been complicit in the slaying of her monster half-brother,
the Minotaur, in the labyrinth below the palace of her father, King Minos. Arriving on the island of Naxos, Ariadne is troubled
by her disloyalty to her father, but solid in her love for Theseus, and returns to the shore to resume with him on their way to
Athens, only to find that he has departed, abandoning her. On the beach, Ariadne sings her lament for her lost love. «Lasciatemi
morire, lasciatemi morire». All the music from the opera is lost, apart from this aria.
2) Florence Jung —or Luca Bruelhart or Lukas Brulhard— writes scenarios that infiltrate reality. A feeling of suspicion and the
tangible presence of an absence are at the base of a system around which her scripted situations are built. As any sort of documentation
is eluded, nothing but traces remain of her work: gossips and rumours, stolen images in the phones of those who have seen (or
believe to have seen), slippery memories, the let-down of expectations.
To see Florence Jung’s piece, go to the fruit and vegetable store across the street and ask for Giuseppe.
3) The International Necronautical Society was founded by novelist Tom McCarthy in 1999, and comprises an amorphous and often
occluded network of writers, artists, philosophers, and others, surfacing the art world through publications, media interventions,
artworks, and live events.
In 2003 at the ICA in London, they used Burroughs’s cut-up technique of blending together phrases from newspapers, websites,
meteorological reports, and other media sources, to produce sequences that were then read over radio. They were inspired by
Cocteau’s 1950 film “Orphée”, where the protagonist hears lines of coded radio transmissions from the afterworld, in scenes
modelled on the secret communications networks operated by the Résistance during the Second World War. In the film, Orpheus
is driving Eurydice away to a safe place, she is sitting in the back, he accidentally (?) looks in the rear view mirror, she disappears.
That the body is a chorus , bound to disappear
Video Credit: Maurizio Esposito