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Myriam Van Imschoot - Talk

don 21/05/2015 - 12:00 > 16:00

Myriam Van Imschoot makes performances, creates sound poetry and vocal pieces, exhibits video and sound installations. She holds a unique position in the Belgian art field, moving between institutional fields and media, with a keen interest to experiment with contexts when not creating her own.

As an artist she first started working with archives as her medium. The duet Pick up Voices (2007) with Christine De Smedt and the juke box sound installation Black Box (2009) showed an interest in the performative potential of archival documents and the construction of alternative historiographies through them. Her solo Living Archive(2011) was a personal testimony of what could be any ’girl living next-door with a passion for mixed tapes’. Acclaimed for its originality, it was shown in Kaaitheater, Vooruit and Kunstencentrum Buda, among others.

Fascinated by phenomena of long-distance communication, Van Imschoot embarked on a cycle of works that deal with yodelling, crying, waving and bird calls. Hola Hu (2013) and Kucku (2014) are deconstructive yodel duets that reframe folklore as it gets transmitted and altered. Since the première in the Operdagen Rotterdam, the yodel duets have been touring in galleries, theatres and concert halls all over Europe and up to date remain a hit. Sometimes these performances are accompanied by the video installation Yodel Portraits. Video is also the medium for LIFT and Efemeriden, shot at the skyscraper where she lives.

Van Imschoot occupies an idiosyncratic place in the larger art field. Her approach cuts through media, nurtured by her careful attention for overlooked gestures, phenomena and voices. And it also makes her experiment with various contexts, like public space in the vocal performance Vozes de Magaio (2011) for the mountainous region in North Portugal and Singelstemmen (2012) for the urban space in Rotterdam. YOUYOUYOU (2014), a vocal performance for 8 to 12 women based on a sharp trilling sound (in arabic called the cry of joy or zaghareet), was presented as a sonic intervention in situations, like a public square in the arab neighbourhood of Jaffa or the café of Beursschouwburg. 

With What Nature Says (her biggest piece up to date) Myriam Van Imschoot made her first vocal performance for five performers who, by means of their voice imitate their ’natural surroundings’. Bird calls, flies, rivers and winds but also chain saws and ringtones play a considerable role. In this ’eco-fair’ tale that draws from field recordings Van Imschoot further pursues her desire to stage ’forms’ that speak of the attempt by humans and animals alike to communicate with a sense of urgency and impossibility. What Nature Says premiered in February 2015 at Kaaitheater in the festival Burning Ice, and is currently touring.

Her presentation will focus on What Nature Says as well as on the YOUYOUYOU pieces that she developed site specificially, working with women who practice the zaghareet (in French: youyouyou), a cry of joy.

Link: http://sarma.be/oralsite/pages/Digital_Portfolio/ (to be consulted with firefox)