Language is fluid. A system of signs, sounds and gestures through which a community can transmit meaning, these conventions for communication are continually shifting, changing and shaping the way we see (and share) the world. “Word Play” brings the conversation around these very vocabularies—of music and moving image, art and digital culture—into HAU Hebbel am Ufer’s theater space and does exactly what it says it will: it performs through, puzzles over and, importantly, plays with words, in their infinite configurations.
Over two cross-disciplinary evenings, of sound, text and audio-visual performances, artists, writers and musicians, will explore narrative in our technologically dominated present. The non-linear, fragmented and scattered nature of contemporary storytelling is reflected in the monumental jigsaw puzzle spread throughout the HAU2 space, an installation by Laura Welker and Ehsan Morshed Sefat. Suffuse with drawings, quotes, memes and jokes, the work becomes a playful invitation—a playground of sorts—for the audience, not only to inhabit these artists and performer’s disjointed story but to take it apart and put it back together in an incomplete image of the collective present.
Writer Göksu Kunak a.k.a Gucci Chunk and composer Laure M. Hiendl tell the story of the famous Arabesk singer who was first attacked and later murdered by her husband who demanded her to stop singing in “Bergen, The Woman of Agonies”. Starting as an almost classical narrative, the performance/music theater collapses into an installation and story told through a lecture and short hybrid texts contemplating the murders of women and LGBQTI* members in Turkey. Mixing elements of music and his own experiences, James Massiah uses his poetic verses to illustrate the shifts in London’s rapidly changing ‘ends’. In his portrayal of gentrification or everyday stories, his poems paint a vivid—and realistic—picture of London youth by taking inspiration from grime, house and even the King James version of the bible. British-Ghanaian singer, songwriter, pianist and producer Ms. Carrie Stacks presents a solo vocal and piano recital constructing a dreamy mix of electronic components and intricate arrangements with soulful vocals. Erica Scourti’s “Unlusts” is a performance based on fragmented video diaries rewritten into scripts for untangling a confusion of voices, affective demons and unspent intimacies. It builds on the London and Athens-based artist and writer’s work exploring biographical writing and bodily inscription in the performance and representation of subjectivity.