Scores for Body and Voice

Text / Video

Scores for Body and Voice:

Voice Ascending a Staircase (15min)
Performatik & Wiels, Brussels, 22nd & 23rd March, 2019

& Horizontal Chorus (20 min)
Ear to the Ground Festival, Bijloke Muziekcentrum Ghent, 6th April, 2019

Choreographer Ula Sickle recently finished a residency at Wiels Centre for Contemporary Art in Brussels, where she embarked on a series of site-specific performances for public spaces. These striped down scores for body and voice, are conceived for resonant architectures that naturally amplify the acoustic voice. Departing from her large-scale performances for theatre venues, for which she is normally known, these intimate pieces ask the spectator to stop and pay attention to spaces that are normally considered places of transit or passage - such as staircases, hallways or foyers. They invite the audience to experience being together in public space in a different way.

Voice Ascending a Staircase is a new commission for Performatik, Brussels' performance biennale. Conceived for the striking, seven-storey staircase of WIELS, this pared down score for body and voice is performed together with singer Fabienne Seveillac of Hyoid Contemporary Voices.

This year's edition of Performatik celebrates 100 years of the founding of the Bauhaus. One of Sickle’s starting points for this performance was Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Stairway (1932), painted at a moment of uncertainty about the future of the school (closed shortly afterwards by the Nazis), while Sickle’s title directly alludes to Duchamp’s seminal painting Nude descending a staircase, No. 2 (1912). In the performance, two women ascend the monumental modernist staircase in slow motion, armed only with their voices which ring out in a resonant dissonance.  

For the second score in the series, Horizontal Chorus, Sickle asked vocalist and musician Stine Janvin, to compose a vocal piece for four singers from Hyoid Contemporary Voices. The vocal score, as well as the movement choreographed by Sickle, draw inspiration from a short text by Canadian author Jacob Wren, which Sickle commissioned for her choreographic exhibition Free Gestures, presented at U-jazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw last spring. In the text the author describes simple everyday gestures and their potential impact in public space: "You have to lie down for what you stand for. You don't only have to stand you can also lie down."

Scores for Body and Voice, is an ongoing research into the body and voice in public space, and gestures of resistance.  

Concept/choreography: Ula Sickle
Artistic Collaboration: Hyoid Contemporary Voices
Performance: Ula Sickle & Fabienne Seveillac
Musical Advice: Tom Pauwels, Andreas Halling
Production & support Wiels Center for Contemporary Art

Concept/choreography: Ula Sickle
Artistic Collaboration: Hyoid Contemporary Voices
Performance: Jean-Manuel Candenot, Julie Calbčte, Fabienne Seveillac, Andreas Halling,
Composition: Stine Janvin
Text: Jacob Wren, In Love With the Movement of the World, 2018
Co production: Bijloke Muziekcentrum Ghent