Hot Air

Workshop with Performance for 2016 SAR Conference, Writing as Practice Practice as Writing, Den Haag, (together with Florian Dombois, Haseeb Ahmed, Martin Burr, Mika Elo, Julie Harboe, Lucie Kolb, Kaspar König, Jacob Lillemose, und Sarine Waltenspül.)

Using a Wind Tunnel to Reflect English in Art as Research – Balancing and Calibrating with Air and Language
For the past three years a group of artists and art/cultural historians have built and worked with a wind tunnel on the rooftop of the Zurich University of the Arts ( Based on this research, our contribution will combine the collective performance of the aerodynamic principle with a dialogue on wider questions of art as research regarding the invisible pull between the verbal and the nonverbal. In preparation for the presentation this extended wind tunnel group will exchange about the practice of the experiment and individual descriptions. How much do our balancing experiments differ? And how does the English language shape our perception and calibrate our thinking?

Hot Air. (extract from my proposed text)
How do we equate language to this pair of objects in conversation?
Language is a balancing act especially when it is not your mother tongue, a misplaced punctuation and an added plural, and it becomes your mother’s tongue. The meaning shifts and the ball drops.
Language is precision when written and hot air when spoken.

Metaphor 1: Ball = Meaning Hairdryer= Voice Hot air= Relationship

The act of speaking as opposed to the act of arranging these signs in a precise order on a page has its own mode and the way we read this is completely different from how we encounter a written text. Our physical presence, relationship to the space, tone of voice, posture, gesture, speed of delivery, these are our grammar and syntax when we give voice to language. It is much more akin to the act, or even to this act of balancing a ball on a current of hot air. The meaning is delicately balanced on the air of its intonation; the hot air that leaves our lips, that is manipulated in the mouth begins with the breath. This giving voice is an act that can bring the whole body into play, using it as a conduit to balance meaning (ping pong ball) on a current produced by the mechanism of the breathe (hair dryer) through the medium and transformation of air; shaping the air around us by creating waves of sound on which our buoyant friend, the ping pong ball of meaning, can surf.
Is it possible to consider creating this situation, this balance of power and precision organically? Maybe even Mr Methane doesn’t contain enough hot air to suspend a ping pong ball in mid air.
In this relationship of objects I find myself relating to the ping pong ball. When we perform we ask the audience to suspend their disbelief and then we attempt to expand this moment of suspension to create a space that is real and at the same time magical (at best), poetic (at times) levitating on the buoyancy created by this suspension, as if their attention was the hot air that keeps the ball afloat.

Mataphor 2: Ball=Performer Hairdryer=The Audience Hot air= The audiences attention