Names can cross cultural boundaries in ways that most other words cannot, but they can also suffer lots of damage along the way. Mispronounced, garbled, even replaced completely with something more acceptable to the dominant culture, they can start to lead a life of their own. This is the story behind a new performative work by artist Nicoline van Harskamp, who is well-known for her artistic research into the role and transformation of English as the lingua franca of globalization. In a bureaucratic setting suggesting a place where names are collected, filed, inflicted, withdrawn, and adapted, van Harskamp stages a storytelling session of different anecdotes about naming. These anecdotes are an agglomeration of real and fictional narratives gathered through extended research and conversation with migrants about the fate of their names, in Graz and elsewhere. Put back together and fictionalized in an evocative literary text, they provide the basis for an immersive performance, in the course of which it becomes clear that proper names are not always bound to their owners. Rather, they live on independently as pieces of data to be stored, markers of identity, brands, and tools of surveillance whose location is all important. In van Harskamp’s performance, names appear as theatrical personas and marketing avatars, always under observation, becoming a language of their own.
Nicoline van Harskamp
My Name is Language (2018)
27.9.: 16:30, 19:00, 21:30
28.9.: 16:30, 21:30
Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Heizhaus
Duration: ca. 60 min.
Various languages with German and English subtitles
Free with Festival Pass
Capacity limited, reservation recommended, reservation with Festival Pass
Single ticket 15/11 Euro
Commissioned by steirischer herbst and Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Produced by steirischer herbst in coproduction with Project Arts Centre, Dublin
Concept: Nicoline van Harskamp
Production manager: Lua Vollaard
Performance: Huda Alsaka, Fofo Bakou, Martin Brachvogel, Heide Gaidoschik, Eugen Gross, Tiny James, Jasmin Karami, Áine Ní Laoghaire, Irina Karamarković, Mina Palada, Mohsen Rezai
Special thanks: Chiala, DANAIDA, JUKUS
With the kind support of Mondriaan Fund
Nicoline van Harskamp (1975, Hazerswoude, Netherlands) is an artist whose performances and films combine linguistic analysis and sociological fieldwork in a conceptual poetic investigating the power of the spoken word and its ability to shape thought and social experience. She lives in Amsterdam.