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Voice 1/5:On Tradition

August 28, 2018, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201 United States
(212) 219-0473

Art in General and Swimming Pool (Sofia, Bulgaria) present Voice 1/5: On Tradition, a performance work by Snejanka Mihaylova. This New Commission is curated by Viktoria Draganova as part of Art in General’s International Collaborations Program and marks the artist’s first-ever performance in New York.

Mihaylova’s practice investigates the intersection of philosophy, performance, and agency. It reflects on the relation between interior thought and exteriorized voice to consider how knowledge is created and circulated. Voice 1/5: On Tradition is the first part of Mihaylova’s long-term research centered on three female saints considered in juxtaposition to contemporary notions of feminism, radicalism, and nationalism. Using her own voice, Mihaylova activates a vocalization of the subjectivities of these remarkable female figures that are typically limited to text and score-based representations. The work is invested in an aural practice that is political and opens towards an experiential understanding in the context of the Christian Orthodox musical tradition. Opening up questions around how history and tradition are employed in contemporary culture, a close reading of a female saint’s vita is accompanied by piano performance by the artist. Posters created in collaboration with designer Dima Stefanova are distributed to the audience as a visualized version of music theory, systematizing a knowledge that, for thousands of years, has mainly circulated in oral form.

Across all her work, Mihaylova is interested in the relationship between written text and the voice as exteriorized through sound. Her 2015 book Acoustic Thought, commissioned and published by If I Can’t Dance I Don’t Want to Be Part of Your Revolution in Amsterdam, explores the relationship between reading and writing that was central to the development of The Bible as a cohesive text. Initially, a collection of oral histories, Mihaylova argues that this text was created by listeners, not by writers. It is from this place of dissonance between reading and writing that the artist engages her ethics of the act of listening and embodied performance. With Voice 1/5: On Tradition the transmission and embodiment of sound between bodies present in the performance space, the voice, and the acoustic instrument are central to the work. Through an attention to the physicality of sound and its affects, Mihaylova reveals a notion of a “collective subjecthood” that brings an acoustic practice to bear on the very space of the art institution—experimenting with a potential for institutional practice to create cognitive and sensorial resonance that deeply engages its audiences in its call for collective thought.