Chimera’s Still Warm Body

Chimera’s Still Warm Body

e-flux

Courtesy of e-flux. 

September 29, 2022
Chimera’s Still Warm Body
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In bucks and tumbles

She learns the land,

Bathes my pebbles in fire,
Struggles like siblings in battle.
She moves in pushes and pulls,
Dances with herselves like strangers 
in a club.

She is a body on this earth
(aware and unaware),
She is never alone.

The second interlude of YCTM features an annotated excerpt of the libretto and live recording for Chimera’s Still Warm Body, a four-act opera by Bitsy Knox, in collaboration with the composer and vibraphonist Els Vandeweyer. The opera unfolds as a proto-feminist narrative of desire, rejection and syncretization through the monstrous imagination of Ancient Greece. An accompanying essay, “Some Notes on Chimera,” is a rhythmic analysis of the Chimera State—the simultaneous existence of synchrony and asynchrony—through the work of Karen Barad, Milford Graves, and Catherine Christer Hennix.

In The Raw and the Cooked, Lévi-Strauss writes: “Music and mythology bring man face to face with potential objects of which only the shadows are actualized, with conscious approximations of inevitably unconscious truths, which follow from them.” The body, according to Milford Graves, inherently rejects metronomic rhythms in favour of autonomous temporality. Knox’s proposal of the chimeric space lies in the void between heartbeats, where uroboric cycles and errant locomotion devour each other. Together, Chimera and the Chorus enact a process of doing and undoing, self-birthing through re-iteration.

Bitsy Knox is an artist, radio host, researcher, and writer. In recent years, she has presented work at Klosterruine, Berlin; Kunstverein Bielefeld, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, among other locations. Her radio show Something Like, exploring emergent emotions and change through experimental music and poetry, airs monthly on Cashmere Radio, Berlin, and 96.5 CHFR Hornby Island Radio. Bitsy was born in Vancouver, the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. She lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Els Vandeweyer is a Belgian vibraphonist, percussionist, and composer living in Berlin. Following her studies in classical percussion in Antwerp and jazz vibraphone in Brussels and Oslo, she regularly performs solo performances, group improvisations, and contemporary music (including a performance of Xenakis’s Rebonds b at the A L’ARME! Festival in Berlin). Past projects include a duo with Fred Van Hove, Quat (with Fred Van Hove, Paul Lovens, and Martin Blume), Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Pascal Niggenkemper´s Vision 7, the Serenus Zeitblom Oktett and collaborations with Hans Unstern en Real Geizt, Metal Illusion (a shadow play with Rieko Okuda), Kudu (with Ignaz Schick and Klaus Kürvers), participation in the SFO- orchestra of Georg Graewe, and a cooperation with Theater Zuidpool in Antwerp. 

This work originally performed at Klosterruine, Berlin, in September 2021, with Els Vandeweyer. It was generously supported by Musikfonds e.V. by means of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and by the Embassy of Canada.

Listen here.

You Can’t Trust Music (YCTM) presented by e-flux is a research project connecting sound-based artists, musicians, writers, composers, and writers and exploring the way that landscape, acoustics, and musical thought contribute to the formation of social and political structures. It is presented on a platform designed by Knoth&Renner and developed by Knoth&Renner with Jonas Holfeld.

YCTM on e-flux.com is made possible with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts. It is produced by e-flux and developed in partnership with M WOODS, NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), Liquid Architecture, Kunsthall Trondheim, and Infrasonica. This chapter owes special thanks to Jayne Wilkinson, Robert Steenkamer, and Blank Forms.

YCTM is curated by Xenia Benivolski.

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