Caroline Bergvall

what_now festival 2014 | Saturday 12 April | 2pm

Writing Gestures

At its root, the gesture of writing is a gesture of tracing. The writer starts to exist in this moment of tracing. As such the trace of writing is a performative act which can be connected to the temporality of a physical body. It can be seen as a gestural choreography. But where the gestures disappear into their moment of performance, writing itself really only starts to exist once the act of tracing has been concluded, and the writer has disappeared. It is in this paradox, in this balancing between absence and presence, life and death, writing and written that I have located a lot of my practice as a writer and performer. In this performative talk, I will wish to actualise and expand on some of the material and philosophical questions that tie gestures of inscription to the development of a text. And in what ways performing a text can in turn inscribe the material shadows of physicality back into writing.


Caroline Bergvall is a writer and artist of French-Norwegian origins, based in London. She works across languages, artforms and media. She is a strong exponent of writing methods adapted to contemporary audiovisual and contextual concerns and multilingual identities. Her language-based pieces and micro structures frequently revisit literary models as well as tackle historical and political events. Projects alternate between performances, sited installations, textual and graphic work, and audio pieces. Current performance: Drift (for live voice, percussion and electronic text).