A promenade performance using the invented language ‘Zaum’ – coined by the Russian poet Chlebnikov following the Futurist’s experiments with sound symbolism and linguistic creation.
Zaum is the name of a non-syntactical language invented in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. Its roots lie in the experiments with sound symbolism and linguistic creation by Russian Futurist writers/poets of the time typified by Alexei Kruchonych’s 1918 work Zaum in Tiflis.
For this performance Caroline Wilkins performs Zaum texts in Arnolfini’s foyer and staircase spaces incorporating sound objects such as the horn used to amplify Edison’s phonograph, a commonly used piece of technology from the same era.
Wilkins source material will be translations from the aforementioned Krunchonykh as well as Velimir Klebnikov, key Futurist poets whose work also evolved into the songs performed in the performance art work ‘Victory over the Sun’ from 1913 (a curatorial influence over Arnolfini’s Visionary Kingdom season in November 2012). The performance’s title Beyond the language of Zaum alludes to the largely onomatopoeic and nonsensical source material as operating between the borders of sound and meaning.