Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Phoneme Choir at St. Mark’s Poetry Project (@ Harriet)

Last Friday night I attended Daria Fain's and Robert Kocik's Phoneme Choir at St. Mark's Church. Here is a link to a write-up I did about it, including extensive video footage of the performance.

Something which strikes me seeing the Phoneme Choir perform together for the fourth time, is to what extent the group has perfected their blend of movement/dance, song, and gestural/proto-semantic poetry (what Kocik refers to as “prosody,” “phonemics,” and “choreoprosodia”). At certain moments the work’s ‘development’ would seem entirely dependent on movement and choreography; or, on the other hand, some combination of recitation and song. Yet the whole piece culminates at a few different moments in a kind of controlled frenzy in which moving bodies, voices/sound, and word (loosely defined) would seem to become interdependent–coextensive, coeval. In the tradition of the “total work,” Fain’s and Kocik’s somatic opera–one I would argue approaches the scale and virtuosity of a Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, or Robert Ashley–seems something both old and new for poetry. A return to things Greek–a Dionysian atmosphere redolent with 60s theatre and intermedia performance. But also a new way to conceive of poetry through modes of collaboration and group process in the interest of mutual care, healing, and a radical re/channeling of both proprioceptive and proto-linguistic energies. For a taste of Fain’s and Kocik’s choir, I encourage you to take a look at the video footage compiled (below) from the performance at St. Mark’s Church for the Poetry Project’s Friday Night Series (currently hosted by Brett Price).

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