Passengers Passages, an algorithmic poem by artist and poet Caroline Bergvall, was commissioned by Rivers in the closing months of 2021 and premiered in the November 5 performance of Nattsong for the Estuary Festival at the Turner Contemporary at Margate. In the days bridging 2021 & 2022, this work signaled from our homepage, marking the new year as both a process of sacred waiting and migration. It is a departures board — for all of us moving in between. The work samples the baseline phrase used by the artist, and translated in conversations with bilingual poets, singers, and language warriors in her research into ancient, minorized or prejudiced languages. It is a thread between years, between people, between languages, and between the compositions in Bergvall’s six-year long Sonic Atlas performance cycle.
Sonic Atlas began with the sunrise piece Ragadawn, continued with the conversational Conference with the Birds and online Night & Refuge events and closes with Nattsong, performed at sunset. Join us each evening at sunset (wherever you are) to view a recording of the Nattsong performance. This week it begins daily at 5:20 pm.
Ladino Monica Acosta / Occitan Aurélia Lassaque / Provençal Emmanuel Deslile / Persian/Finglish Shadi Angelina Bazeghi / Arabic Mays Albaik / Icelandic Vala Thorrods / Greenlandic Jessie Kleeman / Punjabi Indi Sandhu / Sicilian Valentina Castagna / Czech Michaela Freeman / Scottish Gaelic Rhona Coogan Morag Henriksen Rody Gorman/ Welsh Angharad Davies Karen Owen Rhys Trimble / Romansh / Irish Niall Ó Siadhail / Galician Alba Cid Ismael Ramos Antón Lopo Alba Maria / Transqueer Medieval Tamsin Blaxter / Old English Medievalist class Kings College London
Caroline Bergvall (b. 1962) is an award-winning poet, writer, performance artist, and art practice consultant, of French and Norwegian descent currently living in London. She earned her degrees from the Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris, and Dartington College of Arts. Working across artforms, media, and languages, Bergvall’s interests run from multilingual poetics and feminism to issues of social and translocal displacement, migration, and queer identities. Projects include poetic works, audio pieces, drawings, installations, and live performances, which often push the boundaries of language towards difficult language-led political and historical events and have led to commissions and presentations at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Tate Modern (London), the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, as well as Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Fundacio Tapiès (Barcelona), the Jewish Museum (Munich), Khoj Centre (New Delhi), John Hansard Gallery (Southampton), among others. Her collections of poetry and hybrid texts include the trilogy Meddle English (2005), Drift (2011) and Alisoun Sings (2109), each inspired by medieval sources and contemporary contexts. Her large cycle of site-specific performances Sonic Atlas (2016-2022) explores sound, place and multiple languages in conversation with speakers of minoritarian or prejudiced languages within the UK/EU. It includes the sunrise performance Ragadawn, the conversational Conference of the Birds, the online collaborative writing Night & Refuge (2020-) and the nocturnal Nattsong (2021). For her poetic and cross-arts production she was awarded a Cholmondeley Award (UK, 2017), and the Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Art Literary Prize (Paris, 2017).
A former director of the innovative cross-arts writing program at Dartington College, and the recipient of many fellowships of which the Judith E. Wilson Fellowship, University of Cambridge, Whitechapel Gallery, Gray Melon Collaborative Fellowship, Chicago (2016). She is Visiting Professor in English, King’s College London and will be a Kelly Writers House Fellow, University of Penn (March 2022).
John Cayley is a writer, theorist, pioneering maker of language art in programmable media, and Professor of Literary Arts at Brown University. He is the author of the essay, Grammalepsy (2018). Learn more at: https://programmatology.shadoof.net.