Inspired by the Hanes Gallery exhibition Letterforming, Lynn Book performed a concert-style version of Kurt Schwitters’ sound poem Ursonate.
Letterforming traces how pictures became letters that became text and are sometimes becoming pictures again. One of the core concepts explored by the exhibition is the evolution and “biology” of the symbol. Related to this is the historical relationship, both symbiotic and competitive, of the spoken versus written word. Schwitters’ Ursonate , as the name implies, is a seriously playful gesture to use a most refined “linguistic” musical form, the classical sonata, but notated with Ur-vocalizations. It seeks to return the listener to a more primal form of communication, to the roots of the language itself, by re-linking reading, poetry, and music to their origins in sung and spoken sound. In doing so, the piece provides an aural corollary to the more visually expressed themes of the exhibition.
In addition, the event provided an inter-disciplinary performative element to the exhibition’s programming, serving to broaden its appeal and help illuminate the layered themes introduced by Letterforming.
Performer: Lynn Book, Senior Lecturer Creativity and Innovation, Arts Entrepreneurship, Theatre
Marcus Keely, Assistant Director of the Charlotte and Philip Hanes Art Gallery, WFU
Introduction: Amy Catanzano, Assistant Professor in Creative Writing, English