Caroline Bergvall, poet, performance and text-based artist, often working in collaborations.

I am this and I do that. There are many other ways of saying yes.

AFTER GYSIN. 3mins35 & RIDE (after gysin). 4mins40
(Nov. 2004)

Brion Gysin was a British expat artist in New York, in Paris, in Morocco, a multi-media collaborator, a poet, a seeker, and a queer. In the 1950s, he was credited by Burroughs as the inventor of the cut-ups technique for writing. Together they also applied the cuts-ups to audio and radio experimentations at the BBC. Although they’re great fun, the audio piece of his that intruigues me the most is an untitled piece, written for audio, where he is simultaneously speaking and writing. No collage, no cut-up, just the voice and the pen.
But the more I listened to the piece the more annoyed I became with his prophesising stance. For a poet who more or less claimed that poetry is but an incidental drop in the sea of language, and that art is a formalised exploration of a state of living, this was weird. Anyway, you’ll see what I mean: I thought I’d try this stuff more or less exactly as he did it. First, I did it his way (AFTER GYSIN) and then I did it my way (RIDE).

Note for VIA (48 Dante Variations) 10mins

Ever since the Rev. Carey’s translation of 1805, translating Dante into English has become something of a cultural industry. Some 200 translations in less than two hundred years. Faced with this seemingly unstoppable activity, I decided to collate the opening lines of the Inferno translations as archived by the British Library up until May 2000. Exactly 700 years after the date fixed by Dante for the start of the Comedy’s journey. In all, 47 versions were gathered -– once the two editions archived as missing, the one archived as under restoration and the multiple unaltered editions by the same translators had been disregarded.
In the Summer 2000, I invited composer Ciaran Maher to record a reading with me and to compose an additional line of work. He excerpted some of the fractals of my voice and let these run throughout the piece.

close this window to return to Radio Taxi homepage