Jennifer Walshe studied composition and often performs as a vocalist, but her practice and a whopping list of works over the past twenty years put her in a twilight zone where music, performance art, theatre and stage writing intersect and converge. Walshe’s approach to texts, scripts and musical scores is based on a recursive process, a kind of feedback loop which includes and acknowledges all sorts of information about the text itself – the context and paratexts, which literary theorist Gérard Genette described as “those liminal devices and conventions, both within and outside the book, that form part of the complex mediation between book, author, publisher, and reader.” Indeed, Walshe’s works (from operas, instrumental works and electronic pieces, to artistic alter egos with their own body of work and fictional histories) seem to extend that notion into a version of contemporary art and music that draws upon personal anecdote, paraphrased quotes, fiction, linguistic experiments and regurgitated pop culture. As she elegantly puts it in our conversation, “when I make work with text I am not trying to write an essay, I’m trying to make a space where all this stuff is happening simultaneously. It’s all about talking about being alive”.
In this podcast, Ràdio Web MACBA talk to Jennifer Walshe about writing, annotating, teaching, collecting, eavesdropping, performing, faking, and a touch of machine learning.
Photo Courtesy of the organisation