COOP ~ Sotto Voce: Tactics, Signals and Slips of Desire from Month to Month

Seminar 7: July 2020

Meeting in Amsterdam: 16-18 July

Location: Dance Studio Jacuzzi

These three days together in Amsterdam are meant to consolidate some of the trajectories open during the year and lay the base for our presentation in September.

Day to day schedule:

16th July


Get together and discussion about COOP Summit in September with Sara and Arnisa.


Bodily exercises led by Geo around the ideas of orbiting, dis-composition and call & response.

Performative presentation of dream journal elements followed by collective exercise.

Introduction and reading of the score of the performance “Uncounted” by Every Ocean Hughes.


Collective reflections

17th July


“A walk among the scores”

A presentation on scores and of scores by Arnisa, followed by the preparations of a group exercise in which a selection of the scores available are interpreted.


Visit to the If I Can’t Dance office with an introduction to the If I Can’t Dance archive by If I Can’t Dance members Anik Fournier and Megan Hoegter.

Zoom presentation by guest artist Tina Zavistanos.


Collective reflections

18th July


Physical exercises and group discussion.

Zoom presentation by Every Ocean Hughes.


Presentation of the score exercise by three groups.

Collective water / fire ritual in the Nieuwmarkt area.


Collective dinner with a special dish cooked by Mayar.


Seminar 6: June 2020

Dear everyone,

As we continue encountering each other online, we  are really looking forward to connecting, keeping in mind the various needs and desires we discussed during our last meeting, especially the importance of working and communicating beyond the screen.

Based on the reconfiguration of the DAI curriculum we will proceed with our weekly collective meetings and face to face encounters and discuss the opportunity of meeting in person, at a distance in August.

Please find below our guidelines for June as a reminder to what way established in:

  • Collective exchanges 

Weekly three-hour class meetings via TEAMs or Zoom, every Thursday 13:00 – 16:00 informed by our on going exercises 

  • Individual Face to Face Meetings every Friday - 11:00 - 14:00

Each student will have a chance to meet with Sara, Geo, and Arnisa twice from now until August.

Thursday, June 4th  13:00  - 16:00

Dear all, 

I hope you are well and coping this week. 

We have devoted this class to watch your assignment and start the seminar on scores led by Arnisa (description below). But we also want to hear on how everyone is doing and talk about the current situation. 

Also on Friday we continue on the one on ones (11:00 -14:00). Don’t forget to sign in. 


Arnisa and Sara and Geo 

“What do scores bring to mind? Scoring high in an exam, scoring drugs, scoring love affection; or so. It is a word that is often coming up in performance studies but it seems to be replaced or used exchangily with words such as ‘notation, visual notation, script, sequence, testimony, and partitura. The session fosuses on scores and the different meanings associated with notations. Arnisa shares specific examples where scoring overlaps with photography and embodiment of language. The status of 'scores', 'partitura', 'notation', 'sequence', 'script'  is  problematised  within  practices from visual art and specifically performance art. Scoring is looked at as a methodology of both testimony and a manual for future actions”

Thursday, June 11th  13:00 - 16:00

Geographies of Selves -- Gloria Anzaldúa

Dear all,

I hope you are all doing well.

A message to tune in onto the next Sotto Voce waves for this coming Thursday June 11, from 13h till 16h, with Sara. 

Class will be introduced by a non-verbal hand exercise led by Raffia and will be mainly devoted to two things:

1- Discussing the potential in-flesh-meeting in July (check how everybody feels about it, place, dates, logistics etc) 

2- Introducing the work of Mexican/American activist, writer and spiritual researcher Gloria Anzaldúa, a figure who has been in our proximity all these months but we haven't properly met yet. Specifically, this coming Thursday we will closely look at a text from Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality, a collection of essays published after her passing in 2015.

The text, entitled Geographies of Selves, offers a precious extension of the practice of scoring into embodied politics and spirituality. In thinking of the body as a plural territory of notations and relations, Anzaldúa proposes the crack as the liminal space in which new linkages can be drawn, beyond and through the marks that make us who we are. 

The essay is attached and is about 20 pages long. Please read it before class.


Other than this, please continue to work on the dream journal (how does it relate to scoring? are there repeating patterns? do you see connections between the dreams? what geographies of the selves are emerging from it?) and on the making of a score. We won't be sharing it yet but start laying it out. We will follow up on it!


And let's continue with Face-to-face Meetings on Friday!

Much love,

Sara, Arnisa and Geo.

Thursday, June 18th 13:00 - 16:00

Performances Not To Be Seen

Dear all,

I hope you are doing well.

This Thursday, as some rumours have it, we will talk about the idea of "Performances Not To Be Seen." 

"Performances not to be seen" is the title of an exhibition conceived –but never realised– by the New York independent art space Exit Art in the mid-1980s. I came across the files of this potential project while I was researching the performance archive of Linda Mary Montano (invited to the show) at the incredible Fales Library in NYC, where both Linda's archive and Exit Art's archive are located. The project, which ironically ended up being unseen (or at least not in an exhibition form) raises interesting questions around everyday performance, visibility, circulation, infiltration, secrecy, signalling, and value-creation. 

During class I would very much like to unpack this concept together, vis à vis the bio-political conditions of the present, and in resonance with our Sotto Voce thematics and practices. As part of this we will also look up practices of artists that were meant to be part of the show, starting from the Art/Life Institute of Linda Montano. 

In preparation of the session, I would like you to take 3 actions: 

1 – Read the exhibition concept (attached)

2 – Answer this question, posed to all the invited artists to Performances Not To Be Seen: "Why do a performance that has no audience and is not seen?" 

3 - Do you have an example of a performance not to be seen?

And as a BONUS: Please watch this lecture by Okwui Enwezor on Cildo Meireles' project "Insertions into Ideological Circuits" from the early 1970s. It touches upon very crucial things that relate to our topic in relation to power-systems.

I'm gonna write a separate email about the meeting in July.

Much love,


Thursday, June 25th  (last ZOOM class) 13:00 - 16:00

Hello guys, what a time it's been these last weeks, and continues, as always.  

I am very much looking forward to see you in class!

We will start by doing a physical exercise together and non-verbal check in. 

We will then do some close readings and conversations around the below texts. Please read them before tomorrow, and also try and look up some information about the authors so you get a bit of a sense of context.

  1. Hole Theory by William Pope L. (2002)
  2. Invisible Man "Prologue" by Ralph Ellison (1952)

Both are attached.

We will also consider the self-named "Negro Gothic" aesthetic of the musician and artist M. Lamar. We will watch one of his videos together to add to the discussion. 

Take care!





Seminar 5: May 2020

Recap of April 2020:

During this month the Sotto Voce COOP met with regularity to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and share proposals and methodologies for the continuation of the class.

We have also shared films that were related to the interrupted DAI week in Tunis such as Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation by Manthia Diawara and Shakedown by leilah weinraub. We have also continued reading poetry by June Jordan and started to learn some of her poems by heart.

May program:

Hey everyone,

We hope this email finds everybody swimming somewhere, feeling temporal release at different moments and just not feeling too bogged down by the current whirlwind that always existed.

We have spoken at length with the DAI team and feel informed enough to move forward with our class. We appreciate your commitment and patience during this time, and are really looking forward to continuing and connecting, keeping in mind the various needs and desires we discussed during our last meeting, especially the importance of working and communicating beyond the screen.

Based on the reconfiguration of the DAI curriculum:

May / June: we will meet regularly via digital means and exercises

Aug: we may have an opportunity to meet in person, at a distance.

Please find below some guidelines for the coming months:

  1. Collective exchanges 

Weekly two-hour class meetings via TEAMs or Zoom, every Thursday - 14:00 - 17:00. These will consist of a shared warm-up and/or meditation led by a different person every time, discussion/response to the assigned material for that week, and opportunity for individual sharing of creative work. Either Sara, Geo, or Arnisa will be present for these meetings, together or separately.


We will experiment with different embodied exercises that relate to performing Sotto Voce, tuning in to multiple sense and different definitions of an audience.

  1. An ongoing interdimensional secret building and unbuilding, via the postal service. In relation to the many water lines that opened up during the last months, the idea is to build bit by bit a “garment for underwater living”. Once you have received the garment you can add to it, modify it and perform it.

  2. Individual Face to Face Meetings every Friday - 11:00 - 14:00

Each student will have a chance to meet with Sara, Geo, and Arnisa twice from now until August.  We will discuss your experiences with school and life, your current practice and interests, and your feelings in the group.  The format of these meetings can be through video chat, phone/audio, or shouting loud over a large distance away from other people. Our first sessions will be Friday May 8th.

Wkshps with Guest Tutors

We will have wkshps/presentations by guest tutors, dates and format TBA. Confirmed visiting artists are MPA (Los Angeles) and Constantina Zavitsanos (NYC), who will discuss aspects of their practices that intersect with the facets of our class.

Thursday May 7, 14h-17h

Location: ZOOM - video / audio meeting

Please wear headphones

Building further on our interests in entrance, absence, holes, resonance, and utterance, we will spend the next days reconsidering our assignments on "the entrance" that we worked on in Tunis. How can we think of "the entrance" as a way to sense the shift of these evolving conditions? What has become impossible? What or who is invisible? Where, or who, is the hole? Use what is around you to revisit this exercise, thinking through extension and release. Use whatever you have -- skills, interests, desires. Enter or keep entering. We will have a chance to share these with one another at our first meeting.

In addition to Theresa Hak Kyng Cha's Dictee, we are including an excerpt from Juice by Renee Gladman. We are including a reading of the text by Geo (attached) -- the full text is in our new Sotto Voce Quarantine Library of Whispers and Shouts

This can be viewed by logging into TEAMs using your Artez email account. If for some reason you are unable to do this, let us know and we can find another way.

Please read the text before our first meeting. Reading it aloud is super fun, we’d recommend it!

Wave 1 - Zoom - sound/movement meditation led by Geo


*AUDIO only - NO video*

*be prepared for gentle movement*


Wave 2 - TEAMS - "The Entrance" - student sharing w/ feedback and discussion

* Video/audio optional

Wave 3 - TEAMS - Intro to what we are gonna do over next months

Thursday May 14, 14h-17h

Location: ZOOM - video / audio meeting

"And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it

exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony."

--- Viktor Shklovsky, Art as Technique 1917

Hello hello hello everyone......

If you haven't already, please watch Chantal Ackerman's Jeanne Dielman (1975) -- its in the shared folder in TEAMS.

Please also look through Viktor Shklovsky's Art As Technique, the Russian formalist text from 1917 that we introduced last time (Also in the folder).

And please sign up for FACE TO FACE this Friday May 15th on the shared sheet.

We will conduct class in three waves again:

1 - Marie will lead us in a shared opening exercise! Further info to be revealed!

2 - We will continue to enter, and witness each other's entrances:
Just as in Juice, the protagonist of Jeanne Dielman encounters familiar things that become strange, partially due to a shifted sensation of time. 

When preparing your entrance, please consider themes present in the film -- change, touch, chores, temporality, gaze, and reencountering the familiar. 

How can extension of entrance facilitate sensation?? (!?!?) 

USE WHAT YOU HAVE - props, tools, bodies. GOT A VACUUM CLEANER? OR A RICE COOKER? What’s in your house that is speaking to you?



YOU CAN DO IT (waves hands)

Thank you, write if you def want to present, or have questions.

We will continue to enter as an ongoing and repeated gesture. And again.

3 - We will have a short discussion about the film and relevant topics. 

Thursday May 21st

Dear all,

Thursday May 21st  is a national holiday in the Netherlands. Video class is replaced by individual work. Please remember to continue with the following waves:

  • Dream Journals: keep writing your dreams down, on paper, every morning, even a few words or outlines of something. (ca. 1 hour / day)
  • Underwater garment (when it’s your turn!)

And we are also sending the second individual exercise to be shared with the group as a video on JUNE 4th

The exercise is called ENTERING INTO A RELATIONSHIP and regards entering into a relationship with an object in your home. Redevelop your relationship with the object by engaging with it to the fullest extent of your desire. Ask yourself: “What do you really want to do with this object?” “How can you touch it, smell it, taste it?”

Find many ways to encounter this object, engage with it in a way that is outside your "normal" relationship with it. Practice these new ways for at least 10 hours between this week and next week. At the end of the practice document this relationship on camera with a 3-minute video that we will watch together on June 4. This assignment will form the foundation of our thinking through scores with a seminar led by Arnisa. In the Teams Folder you can find some interesting video references that can help you with the exercise.

On Friday 22nd  we continue with face to face meetings (11-14am)

We will also be in touch individually for the preparations of the student led activities.

Thursday May 28th  13h - 16h 

**please note the starting time is changed**

Dear all,

First of all a reminder to continue with the individual waves (dream journal, underwater garment and the new assignment for June 4).

A quick message to sketch the schedule of the next video call session:

-We will have a non-verbal check in led by Geo

-We will finish to share the "entrance" assignments for those who have not gone yet.  

-We will have an EXIT activity led by Lou Lou


Seminar 3 & 4: 10 - 17 March 2020

Secretions and Sirens

May I write words more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than nerve?

Sappho as re-written by Theresa Hak Cha and re-typed by Sara and Arnisa

In Ancient Greek Mythology Sirens were a group of female semi-deities whose chattering song was considered a dangerous seduction that would lead to death and shipwreck. According to Franz Kafka they were actually silent. What is the vibration between silence and  murmurs? Recitation. Evocation. Offering. Provocation. The begging. Before her. Before them.

As we cross the Mediterranean Sea towards Tunisia, we encounter different layers of time  as well as inner and precarious journeys.  During the two week session we focus on stories that are written on water, signals of hope, transpassing voids, and whispered secrets. How to embody words with a cracked tongue?

In more practical terms we continue our performative modes from Epen; we have voice workshops with Geo; are introduced to the practice of Theresa Hak Cha with Sara, we go for a visit to the Bardo museum in Tunis; have a secret workshop with Arnisa; have one or two walks; a Stich-In workshop with curator Vivian Ziherl on encounters, joys and nightmares of the exhibition – Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Too? by Patricia Kaersenhout; few student led presentations; one on ones about individual practice; and we cook together a meal.


Seminar 2: 26 - 29 January 2020

Voice prints

This week gravitates around the different signals of the body in relation to voice and desire.

Where can voices be located? How is speech an utterance of reading the extensions of the self? The gathering starts with a discussion on the previous meeting and readings. We continue the engagement with June Jordan and read a new text by Quinn Latimer 'Q di Quadro or, My Body, Her Refrain (It Comes Back)'.

Arnisa is present for the entire coop and Geo joins on the 28. When Geo joins we create specific exercises in language and embodiment. 

Lastly, we will be doing face to face meetings.


Seminar 1: 1-4 December 2019 

I’ll be your mirror

Poetry, dreams and collective experiences become a red thread of this encounter.

Geo will be present for the entire DAI week, while Arnisa and Sara on the 3rd and 4th. Activities will include collective body and voice exercises gearing us up for communication with presence and absence, close-readings of poetry, dream voices and deep listening.  Sotto Voce as different scales of signalling, through space and time, with the sea as our conduit. 

Please bring a portable mirror, as well as a new notebook for journaling in this class, and wear comfortable clothing to move around in.