Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary presents the sixth edition of EPHEMEROPTERÆ, its annual spoken-word performance series. Taking place from June to September 2017 at TBA21–Augarten, it comprises 11 evenings with invited scientists, artists, musicians, curators, authors, and thinkers.
Janaina Tschäpe and David Gruber introduce their long-term cooperative projects “Fictionary of Corals and Jellies” and “Sea, Blood,” which revolve around scientific and fictional storytelling. The two have created a salon-like atmosphere in Brooklyn, New York, where Gruber’s stories from his laboratory and far-flung underwater adventures are exhibited in an artistic context. Tschäpe contributes her imaginary perspective and translation of these ideas and concepts into artistic form, more specifically into drawing. The salon nourishes their symbiotic relationship where both science and art advance and morph in a state where real and unreal become almost indiscernible.
In his “Selected Poems,” the biggest living legend of the Afro-Carribean dub-poetry and reggae music Linton Kwesi Johnson performs his verses on the formation of nations via Black Atlantic routes, narratives of oppression, racism, and emancipation—lyrics and poetry as a political act. Much of Johnson’s poetry deals primarily with the experiences of being an African-Caribbean in Britain. “Writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon,” he told an interviewer in 2008. His most striking and celebrated work was arguably produced in the 1980s, with Johnson’s spirit of anger and protest finding its ideal subject and opposite under Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. Poems such as “Sonny’s Lettah” and “Di Great Insohreckshan” contain accounts of police brutality upon young black men, and capture the period’s unwritten attitude of resistance and antagonism in their empathic descriptions of rioting and imprisonment. Told via the uncompromising, yet generous and inventive use of unstandardized Jamaican patois, the poems are alive with Johnson’s relish of the tics and rhythms of spoken language.