Following Metro Arts's successful Eyephonics workshops and High Performance gigs by New York poet John Giorno a'nd Paris sound poetry pioneer Bernard Heidsieck, Metro Arts' Eyephonics programme presents further performances and workshops by two of America's hottest and most challenging female performance artists, San Francisco novelist Kathy Acker and New York poet, performance and installation artist, Ellen Zweig.
Kathy Acker is the author of some twelve novels including Great Expectations; Blood and Guts in High School; Empire of the Senseless; Kathy Goes to Haiti; Literal Madness; The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula; I Dreamt I Was A Nymphomaniac; The Adult Life of Toulouse Lautrec; and most recently My Mother: Demonology. Hailed by Picador books as "literally the wildest writer going ... direct, fast , hot, horny, furiously honest"; as a writer with "scarified sensibility, subversive intellect, and predatory wit .. . like no other I know" (New York Times), as "a female voice that goes beyond feminism, artistic freedom turned into a free lifestyle" (Village Voice), Acker is without doubt one of the 'must see ', unique voices of the nineties. "Trained"-as she remarks- "as a classicist", Acker subsequently lived a life among what one might think of as the 'classic' East and West Coast American avant-gardes , skipping New York high school as a teenager to hang out with Film Co-op pioneers such as Jack Smith; discovering the new music of Robert Ashley, of second husband Peter Gordon, and of Warren Burt in California; making money with the "early Andy Warhol people" in 42nd Street sexshows; finding her early self-published books acclaimed and republished by Sol Lewitt and New York's Printed Matter; following the new dance of Meredith Monk and Simone Forti; taking tickets for the best of New York's performance art for The Kitchen "for about three years"; collaborating on multi-media opera with Richard Foreman and David Salle; enjoying cult status as a New York punkette during subsequent years in London; returning to San Francisco and becoming one of the stars of Re-Search Publications' Angry Women anthology, Penguin's Hi Risk anthology, Mondo magazine and Semiotext(e)'s Acker anthology, Hannibal Lector: My Father.
New York poet, performance and installation artist Ellen Zweig is no stranger to Brisbane and Australia. An artist who has worked in both San Francisco and New York, and who has performed at numerous festivals in America and Europe, Zweig has visited Brisbane first as writer-in-residence at Griffith University as part of her first Australian tour, and secondly, as one of the Californian participants in the 1986 Sydney Biennale's ground-breaking three-day Soundworks festival, where she starred with fellow Americans Charles Amirkhanian and Larry Wendt and with the cream of Australia's sound poets and sound artists – the late Jas. H. Duke, the late Allan Vizents, Ros Bandt, Leigh Hobba, Sarah Hopkins, Chris Mann, Amanda Stewart and Ania Walwicz.
Constantly crossing the boundary of poetic performance, performance art, installation art, film and video, Zweig's performance work is as compellingly contemplative as Acker's delivery is compellingly disruptive, and offers Australian audiences the chance to see new kinds of multi-media narrative born of Zweig's own decades-long involvement with the liveliest young contemporaries presently steering multi-media mayhem back to the kind of affirmative creativity that Acker herself associates with 'positive' postmodern innovation arising "now, finally, we've cleared enough air that we can do something like this".
A breath of fresh air - at times blasting audiences with what the LA Times describes as Acker's verbal "brass knuckles" - Metro's A-Z Tour promises to offer Brisbane the best of San Francisco and New York high performance. There will be two Brisbane gigs, locations to be announced, both at 7.30 pm on Monday, 24 July and Tuesday, 25 July. Booking details and further information from Joseph O'Connor, Director, Eyephonics programme, Metro Arts, 07-221 1527.