Meredith Monk, 16mm Earrings, 1966, performance. (Courtesy The House Foundation)
THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, a film and performance program revolving around the work of Meredith Monk, kicks off this week at Tramway as part of Glasgow International. The event series will begin with a live performance of a newly commissioned work by artist Cara Tolmie on April 15th. This will be followed by daily screenings, through April 25th, of work by Sophie Macpherson, James Richards, Cara Tolmie and Sue Tompkins, as well as rare films by Monk. I had a chance to speak with the curator behind THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, Isla Leaver-Yap, about Monk’s career, the correspondence between her practice and those of the artists involved in the series, as well as the informative online reader organized especially for the project.
How did you first become interested in Meredith Monk's work?
Last year I was involved in a project at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, called Talkshow, which was a season of performances and events that looked at speech in relation to contemporary art. We were working with a lot of music/art crossover figures like Robert Ashley, Simone Forti, and Joan La Barbara. By way of Talkshow research, I came to see Peter Greenaway’s fantastic Four Composers television series, which was originally broadcast in the UK in 1983, and which included an episode portrait of Meredith Monk. Perhaps I wasn’t looking at it so closely at the time because Meredith Monk was less invested in the speech act and more in the possibilities within the human voice. When I moved to New York in October of last year, I watched the Greenaway film again out of a kind of local interest - a lot of the performances Monk was talking about in ...