"I was unspeakable so I ran into the languages of others" (Kathy Acker)
"How much blood guts and perspiration to finally transpire! How many individuals to collectivise! To relay a profounding relay! How many notes to make opera! How much opera to make operative!" (Caroline Bergvall)
Language, for French-Norwegian artist Caroline Bergvall, is an elusive archaeology. She digs for "language bones, pressed word-fossils", mining it "for what is always moving, always escaping". She drifts through space, slips through time, discovers and deforms lexicons. ALISOUN SINGS is the third volume in a trilogy rooted in medieval narratives. It uses Chaucer's proto-feminist Wife of Bath, supported by a phantom crew of seekers and apostates (among them June Jordan, Virginie Despentes, Hildegarde von Bingern, Vivienne Westwood, Grace Jones), to create an extraordinary swarm text about love, defiance, queer verbs, art during wartime.
CAROLINE BERGVALL is an award-winning poet and sound artist whose interdisciplinary and international projects alternate between books, printed matter, collaborative performances, site-specific installations and soundworks. Her publications include Drift (2017), Meddle English: New and Selected Texts (2011), and the DVD Ghost Pieces: Five Language-Based Installations (2010). Recent commissions include Documenta 14 (Kassel), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), The Jewish Museum (Munich), The Serpentine Gallery and Tate Modern (London), MoMA (New York). Her touring work Ragadawn (2016-2020) is an outdoor sunrise performance for spoken voice, soprano and a dawn chorus of voices in multiple minoritarian languages (with vocal work by British composer Gavin Bryars).
She has been director of the interdisciplinary program Performance Writing at Dartington College of Arts, co-Chair of the MFA in Writing at Bard, and is currently a Visiting Professor in Medieval Studies at King's College London.
STEPHEN MOTIKA's first book of poems, Western Practice, was published by Alice James Books in 2012. He is also the author of three poetry chapbooks: Arrival and at Mono (2007), In The Madrones (2011), and Private Archive (2016); editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009); and co-editor of Dear Kathleen; On The Occasion of Kathleen Fraser's 80th Birthday (2017). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, BOMB, The Brooklyn Review, The Constant Critic, Eleven Eleven, Maggy, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Staging Ground, and Vanitas, among other publications.
He has held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Workspace, Millay Colony for the Arts, Zentrum fur Kunst und Urbanistik in Berlin, and The House of Literature on Paros, Greece. He is the director and publisher of Nightboat Books