Monday, March 18, 2pm
Elizabeth Burchill Room, Building 68 (Performing Arts), G38
Clayton Campus, Monash University

Jaap Blonk is one of the world’s leading performers and practitioners of sound poetry, exploring the common ground between poetry and music without abandoning the semantics of language. His compositions and performances make use of words and phonetic snippets, as well as clicks, hisses, and other vocal manipulations. As a vocalist, Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and almost childlike freedom of improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. His celebrated renditions of works by Dadaist pioneers such as Hugo Ball, as well as other major works of sound art including those of the Fluxus movement, have been presented throughout the world. One of his earliest influences was Kurt Schwitters, whose Ursonate he first heard in 1979; he memorized the entire work, and has recited portions of the piece hundreds of times. He works as a solo performer, in collaboration with avant garde musicians such as John Tchicai, Tristan Honsiger, and Mats Gustafsson, and with his own ensembles Splinks and BRAAXTAAL. This is his first visit to Australia.

“Jaap Blonk is a remarkable self-taught composer, performer, visual artist and poet. To see him on-stage is to be dumb-struck at first by the seeming oddity of his work – the presentation of abstract vocal sounds and extraordinary facial and bodily gyrations; if one can get past that, one marvels at the sheer inventiveness of his art. He is funny, serious and virtuosic at the same time. He is part sound poet, part sound technology artist, part experimental theatre performer, and he uses improvisation within a structure, or to shape the structure, in many of these modes. He takes his voice and body far beyond the normal range of expression which the rest of us use in daily communication.” – Boulderpavement