A survey is a process of listening

02–06 May 2012
Whitney Museum, New York
Talk

Dr. Mabuse dispassionately recites communist theory over found footage of riots

Evan Calder Williams
14:45–15:30 Sun 6 May
Whitney Museum
 / New York

Entry to Talk with Biennial Day Pass

  • A silhouette of a man sits at a small desk with a old microphone set upon it.
    Evan Calder Williams
  • A film still. A silhouetted man sits behind a dimly lit curtain.
    Evan Calder Williams
  • Evan Calder Williams in a dark room with a small lamp illuminating him
    Evan Calder Williams at Episode 2: A Special Form of Darkness

About the event

IN BRIEF

A bodiless treatise on narration, bored speakers, audience misbehaviour and police megaphones, but: is anybody listening?

IN MORE DETAIL

Who

Evan Calder Williams is concerned with ornament, horror, sabotage, and cinema, amongst other things.

He is also the author of Combined and Uneven Apocalypse, the jacket of which summarizes thus: From salvagepunk’s rubble to undead hordes, from waste zones to plagued cities, Combined and Uneven Apocalypse grapples with the apocalyptic fantasies of our collapsing era.

What

Here’s Evan’s proposal:

“A bodiless treatise from a criminal mastermind long presumed dead, concerning the un-present voice and images of the present, murder mysteries and radical documentaries, narration and ekphrasis, exciting images and bored speakers, pre-cinema and found cinema, audience misbehaviour and police megaphones, and, lastly, the possibility that the one speaking from behind the curtain may have no clue as to what is happening on the other side.”

Why

How do we imagine people listen when we address them?  What if they have stopped hearing us, have left the building, no longer care?  How do we present what we have to say, or narrate, when what we have to say is important? Why does so much political art use dispassionate description to talk over that which one is intended to feel passionate about? Is anybody listening?

Kinds of listening involved

Ekphrasis - to hear something described.

Speech Act - to address someone, (and to imagine how they hear you).