“In 1983, Ben Neill moved from Ohio to New York City. What was going on at the time in music was a very free improvisatory kind of style, a way of fusing different elements together through oppositions and similarities. The result was rather superficial. Ben was more interested in isolating some elements in order to produce a kind of deep resonance keeping each element separate, unexpected, untimely, a kind of creative chaos, in which the pieces clashed and resonated in the distance without ever being pinned down logically. It was the aesthetic of the collage. This is what attracted Ben to David Wojnarowicz’s work.
“With David you always got the feeling that the pieces weren’t randomly chosen; they made some kind of underlying structure that held the pieces together. There was something in his visual work that Ben was trying to do in a musical sense, putting together styles from different historical periods and contemporary forms, but always with the idea of creating some kind of larger by-product. It was very profound. So he called up David and he suggested that they do a collaborative piece at the Kitchen with him. And this was ITSOFOMO [In the Shadow of Forward Motion].
“In 1946 Antonin Artaud recorded a radio version of his famous text To Have Done with the Judgment of God. Directed by Artaud himself, this remarkable recording set shrieks and drumbeats inspired by the Tarahumara Indians against Artaud’s reading of a text about the mid-century American technology of war. War in a test tube, as the Virus of the Invisible, a destruction that is accomplished without bodily contact, spreading as seamlessly as the dream-transmission of primitive plagues.
“Fifty years later we are plagued by the invisible violence of a technology so accelerated that human life has come to a standstill. A globe cut up into cities of dead time. The texts that Wojnarowicz reads are an antidote to abstraction. Passionate, grounded, and dead precise, these texts violently reclaim the body by forcing us to experience the visceral reality of space and time. Set against Neill’s delicate, composed mutantrumpet, percussion, interactive electronics, and South American ethno-music, ITSOFOMO‘s forward motion becomes a battle to reclaim the organism of life.” — Sylvére Lotringer*
This weekend, Wojnarowicz and Neill’s multimedia performance piece ITSOFOMO will be restaged and performed by Neill and Don Yallech at KW Berlin.
Friday, April 26, at 8 pm.
Saturday, April 27, at 6 pm.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststrasse 69, Berlin.
*Sylvère Lotringer, in conjunction with the 1992 CD ITSOFOMO by David Wojnarowicz and Ben Neill, and included in the liner notes for the 2018 vinyl release by Jabs.
From top: David Wojnarowicz, ITSOFOMO, performance (1) and rehearsal (2, 3) at the Kitchen, 1989, photographs © Andreas Sterzing; Ben Neill (left) and Don Yallech perform ITSOFOMO at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2018.