English as a Second Language - Gertrude Contemporary - 18 Jul 2013

Dirk De Bruyn and Arf Arf
Where Gertrude Contemporary
Date 8pm, Thursday, 18 July 2013
Tickets FREE

‘English as a Second Language’ presents films and performance by artists wielding their voices against language – ‘acting out’ processes of ‘verbal brainwash’ (to use the term memorably coined by Swedish sound poet Åke Hodell).
In experimental film-artist Dirk De Bruyn’s work, these gestures of syntactical erasure can be understood as a poetic practice which seeks to grasp preverbal early childhood states – an (inevitably futile) attempt to excise meaning from experiences, before language and its attendant comprehension of the world. De Bruyn attributes this impulse to his early immigration from Holland to Australia and the confusion experienced in the consequent liminal space between cultures and languages. His tumultuous performances, which begin and end in darkness, combine shouting, hollering and chanting vocalisations with the sumptuous illumination of projected film images, their blooming fields of colour and texture intricately layered and animated by hand. At Gertrude, Dirk will perform a new work for three 16mm projectors and voice entitled ‘i1234m’.

Sound Poetry ‘band’ Arf Arf’s first unofficial gig came at Caulfield Art Gallery in 1985 when Marcus Bergner called Frank Lovece at twenty minutes’ notice to ‘do something, anything’ to help him in a performance that was about to start. The subsequent show consisted of foot-stamping, yelping and microphones being rolled along the floor, a modus operandi that has only marginally evolved since. Contra De Bruyn’s work, Arf Arf’s sound is less preverbal wonder of infancy, and more garbled vocalisation of adult disorientation. The first official Arf Arf performance took place soon after at the (now disappeared) Aberdeen Hotel in Fitzroy alongside another group making their debut, T.I.S.M., who Lovece decried for their mannered theatricality and artifice. Adopting a raw punk ethos of demystification and ‘non-slickness’ (Lovece’s other band is ‘Primitive Calculators), Arf Arf were as likely to appear at The Tote as La Mama. At Gertrude, Arf Arf members Frank Lovece, Luca Lovece, Marisa Stirpe and Michael Buckley will collectively perform a series of sound poems followed by a screening of 1993’s ‘Thread of Voice’, in which Arf Arf, as Adrian Martin writes ‘use their sound work to transform the medium and language of film – and vice versa’.

(forwarded from Joel Stern)