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Empty Orchestra



Empty Orchestra refers to the origins of the Japanese compound word ‘karaoke’: kara meaning “empty” and okesutora for “orchestra”. This performance project prompted my current body of research, which considers questions of the ‘voice’ (the ways in which it is performed, recorded and made audible) as well as a wider understanding of the ‘tongue’ (language, phonetics, accents and dialects). Underlying the work are (personal) notions of displacement and assimilation. Displacement and assimilation here are understood both in the sense of aesthetic form as well as geographic migration.

The practice of taking on a voice other than one’s own is the practice of embodiment. Taking on a voice that is at odds with one’s own is the practice of radical empathy. The aim of this performative research is to explore how power is performed, how power can be disrupted through (collective) performance, and to elaborate on the political agency of estrangement. My artistic interest is to disturb and disrupt ‘habitual’ readings (heimat, home, homeland) and to desynchronise, to produce the ‘unheimlich’, the uncanny.
To make sensible again.

Mark