Caroline Bergvall Interview: Poetry as a Performance



Immerse yourself in the magic of words in this short video with the innovative poet and cross-disciplinary artist Caroline Bergvall, who talks about how she enjoys disassembling language when she performs her poetry: “You can break down language all the way down to spit when you perform, and still find a rhythm that you can rebuild that sentence of.”

“I love and relish everything you can do with language that you can’t do with print.” Performative work allows Bergvall to play with e.g. her tone and accent, bequeathing her a “physical presence”, which she finds interesting. Breath is an extremely important element in her performance, as breathing not only is fundamental to being alive, but also a key element of speech. When she performs her breathing-based pieces, such as ‘Together’ (2014), she continues until she can feel the audience breathing the piece: “So it’s calling on some really elemental aspects in a very intimate way.”

Caroline Bergvall (b. 1962) is a French-Norwegian poet, writer and artist, who works across languages, media and art forms. Her work includes both published poetic works and performances, which are often collaborative sound-driven projects with sound artists. Bergvall’s books of plurilingual poetry and hybrid writing include ‘Strange Passage: A Choral Poem’ (1993), ‘Fig’ (2005), ‘Alyson Singes’ (2008), ‘Meddle English’ (2010) and ‘Drift’ (2014). Her work has been commissioned and shown by prominent institutions such as MoMA in New York City, Tate Modern in London and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Antwerp. She lives in London.

Caroline Bergvall was interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in August 2016 in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark.

Camera: Theis Mortensen, Simon Weyhe and Anders Lindved
Produced and edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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