Statement #03 | Alfredo Barsuglia — SPRACHEIST

Performance, January 10, 2019, 7 pm
Performers, Alfredo Barsuglia and Jasmin Hoffer

Sprache ist S. P.
Prr. Ach! E! Ist, sprach E!

Language is an arbitrary system. And since the structure and use of language and its vocabulary are based on a social consensus, these conventions can also be overturned to facilitate reflection on language. In the performance SPRACHEIST, Alfredo Barsuglia dissects language to the point where it becomes meaningless. Going beyond conventional interpersonal communication, in which two or more speakers interact with each other according to a given but variable pattern in order to achieve mutual coherence, the artist concentrates self-reflexively on language itself.

The words “Sprache” (language) and “ist” (is) are broken down into their constituent parts, syllable by syllable, letter by letter, and then recombined in order to lend them new meaning. From an onomatopoeic speech act consisting of the decomposition, repetition, and variation of the sentence “Sprache ist” – a sentence that opens up in many interpretative directions – the artist develops a “language sculpture” to which sound material is added and removed in a modular manner. Alongside this speech act, which is carried out by a performer, the artist also manipulates an object in the exhibition space, a wooden box that serves simultaneously as pedestal, seat, and display board, and whose elements Barsuglia relates to each other in different ways. Like the sentence fragment “Sprache ist,” the function of this sculptural element is thus also put up for discussion and only activated through human interaction, i.e., through use.

Alfredo Barsuglia’s artistic practice revolves around examining the social conditions shaping human co-existence. With SPRACHEIST he tries to get to the bottom of one of the most fundamental human traits: language and speech. The choreographic elaboration of this performance for Kunstraum Lakeside relates linguistic to Dadaist methods of deconstructing language while constructing elements of a singular body language and art language.

Alfredo Barsuglia (b. 1980 in Austria) lives and works in Vienna.


Alfredo Barsuglia, SPRACHEIST, 2018