EPISODE 50: Pedro Lasch – Veiled Conversation No.9
25/05/2021 20:00 – 23:00
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Veiled Conversation No.9: An Irreverent Listening Engagement with John Cage’s Empty Words
Radio Tenthaus in Oslo is pleased to present Pedro Lasch’s ‘Veiled Conversation No. 9’ over the radio for the first time. All previous iterations, including the original version at London’s Showroom eleven years ago (2010), have consisted of physical installations or group listening sessions. Now framed in 2021 Norway by the experience of radio as a medium, as well as the by the context of a global pandemic, mask-wearing, and social isolation, the work’s veiling and irreverence takes on a more introspective dimension.
After a brief set of recorded recommendations from Lasch that will help create the ideal conditions for the work, Radio Tenthaus listeners will be invited to enjoy and disrespect the entirety of John Cage’s Empty Words: Part III (1977 recording). Compositions by John Cage are talked about so often that they have become canonical. Paradoxically, they are rarely physically experienced. Originally performed for a large Italian audience and lasting two and a half hours, Cage’s musical reading of manipulated words and syllables begins with the conventionally solemn silence of classical music halls. The work’s simplicity and iconoclasm, however, eventually causes a riot to break out. This crescendo of support and resistance to the artist, as well as the audible manifestation of the social tensions produced by the formalism of the work, are beautifully registered in the recording that Lasch is sharing. The specific social and perceptual modalities we will use to listen to Cage’s work belong to Lasch’s Veiled Conversations, an ongoing project that creates unusual conditions for both formal and casual conversations as it limits the visibility of those who speak and those who listen.
Pedro Lasch (Mexico/US/Germany) is a visual artist, 16 Beaver organizer, Duke professor, and director of the FHI Social Practice Lab. His solo exhibitions and projects include Open Routines (QMA), Black Mirror (Nasher), Abstract Nationalism (Phillips Collection), Art of the MOOC (Creative Time), A Sculptural Proposal for the Zócalo (Casa Wabi) and Politics of Fiction (Espacio México, Montreal); group exhibitions include MoMA PS1, MASS MoCA (USA); RCA, Hayward Gallery, Baltic (UK); Centro Nacional de las Artes, MUAC, National Palace Gallery (Mexico); Prospect 4 Triennial New Orleans (2017), Gwangju Biennial (2006), Havana Biennial (2015), Documenta 13 (ANDANDAND, 2012), and 56th Venice Biennale (Creative Time Summit, 2015). Author of five books, his work has appeared in numerous catalogues, as well as journals like October Magazine, Saber Ver, Art Forum, ARTnews, Cultural Studies, The New York Times, and La Jornada. His online pedagogical artwork ART of the MOOC (English-Spanish) has had over 55,000 enrolled participants in 134 countries since it launched in 2015.