Yen Noh: DidLineMurderCircle, and Run to the Lowest Paradise

20 minute presentation for AEROPONIC ACTS  - growing roots in air, DAI's 3 day marathon of lecture-perfomance acts, May 2019.

‘Aeroponic’ – root systems nourished by air – Acts is the name given to the nomadic Dutch Art Institute’s final & festive iteration of the two year long so-called Kitchen* trajectory. Aeroponic Acts are conversations-in-a-form. Each presenter addresses one question as a practice of engagement.

Here you will find the documentation of Yen Noh's presentation as filmed by Silvia Ulloa, followed by a written report, authored by Ayesha Hameed, which includes a summary of the spoken comments by esteemed respondents Rachel O’ReillyLaura Harris, Ghalya Saadawi and Hypatia Vourloumis.

DidLineMurderCircle, and Run to the Lowest Paradise

Introduction: DidLineMurderCircle, and Run to the Lowest Paradise is a play of a Korean poet and architect Yi Sang and his partner Geumhong who was a sex worker. Visually, sonically, and spatially rendered from Yi Sang’s work, it wonders about and wanders the radical root of language where a biopower of sexuality comes in chorus against the totalized civilization of knowing. Creeping into, walking through, breaking down, and running away from the marked sign of the civilization, it seeks for a movement where origin come to an end by endless returns.

Yen's question: How do we dance at the zero degree of signification?

Report: This play by Korean poet and architect Yi Sang and his partner Geumhong, a sex worker, is performed under blue lighting, with no chairs and a white circle in the middle. A quiet disembodied voice says, ‘Without discontinuity. Endless search for origin. From running to the past,’ and a bare-legged person in a fluffy top enters in noisy clogs and walks around the circle. The voice continues as the person limps in their irregular shoes, listing off frightening children’s characteristics that turn into a list of frightened children: a mountain and a child are both described as frightening. The two voices converse. The blue light shifts upward. Recorded list-like electronic music plays. The first speaker walks through the white circle, scattering the powdered shape. The figure in clogs speaks over the intensified sound. They join each other: one crawls on the circle saying ‘adieu, adieu, adieu,’ and the other falls down. They both sweep the powder up in their hands, their breathing laboured, and then laugh as they playfully throw the dust into the air. 

Ghalya Saadawi responded by considering how we dance at the zero degree of signification. She cited Butoh and Yoga as other interior and exterior practices. In the former, you are not choreographed to move, she noted. Movement rather comes from itself. It left her with the question: ‘Why do we need to signify, or oppose language and non-language?’ 

Laura Harris commented on the beauty of the performance, and the evident time and care put into it. She was interested in the relationship to the circle, and the ways the body is marked by the shoes. Further, how drawing as taking a line for a walk evoked the work of Paul Klee, and the airborne sand that was inhaled evoked aeroponics. 

Rachel O’Reilly appreciated the performance’s rare sensitivity to language and poetic conversation around the aesthetics of decomposition as well as the confident play with materials, bodies and sounds. 

The artist wanted to work with Yi San’s anti-colonial subversive work since starting the degree, said Hypatia Vourloumis. While the difference between communication and communicability is very strongly communicated, she noted that the way in which poems are decomposed on the page was lost.  

About Yen Noh