Weekly* F* Sharings – Words and weavings

*Time does not exist in lockdown, the last ‘week’ has stretched on longer than others.

This week, while some of us are managing to find each other to sing in parks and under trees, Jo has given us a glimpse into her lockdown experience and the characters she’s met, and Charlotte has been making beautiful things with thread.

A portrait of a mid level imperialist couple

The Ns are your typical mid level imperialist couple. Follow orders because that’s just the way things are. They are community minded – expat community minded – and kind, in a chivalrous sort of way. By her own admission, T grew up in the Far East but who on earth uses the phrase Far East these days? It’s 2020, not 1920! D grew up poor and exploited hard to become rich. A confident, commercially successful man, D will punch a hole in the wall if a task eludes him. Easy to success, patience is not his virtue. 

I became acquainted with the Ns by chance. Finding myself stranded in a random village in SW England during the 2020 – 2021 pandemic, I didn’t have much of a choice in people when it came to social contact. I didn’t want to be here but I couldn’t get off this god forsaken island. And here is where the Ns and their mid level ambitions were. 

I found that the Ns are not very good listeners. Their way of relating to anyone is to parrot sexist and classist lines. Here’s a cookbook for you. Did you learn classical music? My son passed Grade 8 in singing. Well, said son is too scarred to sing anymore whereas amatuer me just happens to be in a joyous choir famous on both sides of the atlantic. Never mind that and my un-classical life. 

I suppose they mean well, people like them always do. Those three decades they spent pumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as managers in the airline industry – they meant well then, just as they mean well now. It’s not their fault that it was not the cultural wisdom to recognise that their line of work is a massive and direct contributor to climate change. Why should they be bothered with all that self reflection and critical thinking. They had much more important things to do. Like bring up a family, put food on the table, keep up with the Joneses, be kind to their well off neighbours, buy multiple properties. 

Their house is gorgeous but the Ns did not put a creative touch on it. I am not sure they would know how. They bought a pretty off-the-shelf house for an easy retirement in a picture-esque elderly village. Where they can drive their electric car, be smug about their solar panels, and avoid the guilt, the facing up to the consequence of their lives. I barf silently everytime D says they aren’t bothered that they are the youngest in the village. Because they now have more varied conversations since escaping their peers and their common life stages. Their notion of spicing up their lives is truly ridiculous. 

I think I detest them not because they destroyed my birthright but because they are so utterly uninspiring. Destroyed my birthright for what? Manicured lawns, ornamental flower gardens, hedges that hide the views, concrete veins in the countryside. Disciplined and controlled wilderness. They took away our right to roam, right to just be. They think they are superior but really their life and company is tedious – but I can’t say that aloud, lest I break everyone’s peace.

Charlotte’s stitching

SO cool, just SO COOL

Weekly f*sharings – snacks, memories + doodles

With another week into the lockdown, f*choir keeps swapping favourite songs, doodles, snacks and memories between online rehearsals. Here is what we’ve swapped last week:

Bianca explains why hummus is her favourite snack. Note that hummus is something like a fuel for f*choir (when and if missing at rehearsal, there is normally a debate):

“Well well well, my favourite snack is something that goes with anything, anytime of the day morning or night and also works for the halfway point in f*choir’s allotted snack time (which we take extremely seriously). This would be for me ‘Hummus Featuring’ which mean hummus with any kind of bread, veg or crisps whatever you feature with hummus it works and has a strong hold on our f*choir snack table.” #HummusFt

Ruth shares memories on the first song she’s learned at f*choir, and for reference’s sake we are posting the video of the original version below.

“I’m not Dancing I’m Fighting was the first song I sang with f*choir. I joined an open rehearsal in 2017 at the Keep it Complex event at Res. in Deptford. At the time the choir was just a year old, having formed at the previous Keep it Complex event, and they showed everyone the handwritten words/scoresheets (no musical notation, just words and directions) and thinking they had done about ‘what makes singing feminist?’

Jenny taught the three(ish) parts of the song to what must have been about 60 people. “This is the Beyonce rewind bit” Yes. I know exactly what you mean. And the timing of the part where I sing ‘do-do, do-do’ is easy because I’m being a doorbell. I loved this way of learning and singing.

The power in the room of those words, and these collective voices was incredible. The powerful volume and togetherness. I wanted to do it again. I’ve been in a political choir before, but this was somehow more complicated, more scratch and creative. There’s something going on with our bodies, singing together, working out how that noise is made, that makes f*choir into a singing practice.

I got home after the event and looked up the song – and this is something I now really appreciate about f*choir, being introduced to new, mostly womxn artists. The version by Tirzah & Micachu is, deeply, sparsely, cool. It’s not a fighting song, it’s understated, letting you know, ‘i’m not shining, i’m burning’.

Debs had an epiphany while being bored by the government’s suggestion on song choices for the corona hand-washing-routine:

“I was finding it difficult to gauge how long 20 seconds was, so I started timing myself while singing bits of songs. Rubie’s song “Anatomy” is pretty much exactly 20 seconds and divides really easily with the hand movements. Be Steadwell’s “Who have I become” is a bit longer but we’ve just been learning it in our zoom choir sessions so it’s been going round my head the last couple of weeks – I use the extra few seconds at the end to rinse my hands. I decided to make this in a really analogue way using the pictures from the government-issued Coronavirus advice leaflets we all got sent – it was nice to make something that looks more like an F*choir score even tho I knew I’d still have to share it digitally.”

Debs doodle of Rubie’s “Anatomy” triggered memories of an f*choir gig we held in February, wherein Rubie opened with that very song, curling themselves intimately through the audience towards the front:

weekly f*sharings ~ delicious treats from the community…

As we are currently unable to meet in person, f*choir are taking the time between each online rehearsal to share songs, covers of our covers, doodles, writing and ideas that are keeping us going – with each other – and now you! Here is what we have been swapping so far…

Roll up roll up, a glimpse into Rosa’s lockdown:

At the beginning of Quarantine, a friend shared with me Peter Cat Recording Co’s album – bismillah – which i wallowed in for a bit. It’s a both beautiful and pretty bleak journey through capitalism and corruption. They don’t seem to settle on a style and each track sneakily but also snazzily travels through different sound palettes and musical eras. The nonchalantly apocalyptic vocal delivery both soothes and stings. Akin to the enjoyment of picking at a decent-sized scab. 

Anyway – on the flipside of my indulgent/subversive/hi brow wallow (#libraprobs) in apocalyptic dread –  my listening habits have changed loads and tend toward rare gems and finding new sounds to transport and escape (#libraprobsagain) rather than listening to faves over and over (well i have been doing that a bit) (#libraprobsarerealok). there’s loads of radio broadcast, djing and live music happening and that’s been amazing. Props to those artists who’ve continued making and responding and throwing new things across the internet, creating listening adventures through This Time. A few shout outs to some recent highlights – dig into the sonic buffet:

  • This led me to the cult radio station – Shirley & Spinoza. Broadcast 24/7 from Urumqi since the 90s, is a voyage into unexpected aural realms. The full 20+ year archive is available to download. woah.   
  • Finally, this Lunatraktors gig was a treat. Staggering vocal and rhythmic work – drawing out queer and rebel narratives from traditional british folk and music hall material. And that has to be the world’s sassiest version of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic at 1hr10. amirite? 

Anna sent us her musings on a Vanishing Twin track

The song has such a calming dreamy vibe, and the repetition of ‘we are side by side’ reminds me that even though we can’t literally stand side by side for now, we are still connected and collective…we are not islands!!!   

Molly gave us: Islands In The Stream by Communist Icon Dolly Parton “Have loved this one since they did the dance to it at Gwen’s surprise party on Gavin and Stacey.”

Zia gave us this cover of one of our covers: Chi Limpiroj‘s (who also does loads of other bangin covers too) version of Sheela-Na-Gig by PJ Harvey. “Although it’s just someone jamming on their acoustic guitar via webcam, it’s a good execution, and in a distinct style from the original which I appreciate in a cover.”

Beth shared these lovely pages from her notebook:

Sam sent us: The Big Jump by the Chemical Brothers saying “Chemical Brothers were a hue part of coming of age, so pretty much any hit of theirs reminds me of teenhood, but that one in particular has a dirty as fuck drop in it which literally makes my stomach boil in the same way as it does when I see someone I have a crush on.”

Debs sent us this great cover of River by Ibiye: this time by BELLATRIX

El shared some of her choir notebook pages:

We will be sharing some of these over the coming weeks too – so watch this space.

Jenny Moore on F*Choir / March 2020

JM Borealis
Photo by Johann Karlsrud, Borealis festival for experimental music, March 8 2020

A journalist from the New Statesman got in touch with us at the beginning of March to write something about radical choirs in London and wanted to know some things about F*Choir and what I (Jenny) do as the musical director. Things changed rapidly as we watched a public health crisis spread internationally, naturally changing the focus of Jude’s story.  Here’s what the pre-COVID19 version of me talked to her about:

* Tell me what you do as musical director – and your age and job, if that’s OK.

I founded F*Choir almost by accident in 2017 after being asked to lead a vocal / performance workshop for the artist-activist group Keep It Complex. They were super burnt out by the UK referendum and all the organising they’d done for the Remain campaign.  A lot of artists and activists were exhausted and felt like their voices were muffled, fizzled, ignored or just totally non-existent. We were trying to find other ways of being together that would give us a break from community organising around a table or in the Google Docs and so I led a 5 hour workshop where I taught my song called “We Want Our Bodies Back” to a group of 25 singers and non-singers alike.

This is how I became the musical director of F*Choir. I started organising fortnightly, pay-what-you-can rehearsals, and learnt in public about what a musical director of a choir is.

Before this (and now), I was playing in a band called Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business and writing songs for multiple voices, thinking about communality, about chanting and ranting and how to think about singing itself as a feminist practice. It was super un-cool to talk like that in the contemporary art circles that I roamed with at that time but I was fucked off with art and tired of feeling like nothing I made or created meant anything. I had come to the UK from Canada to do a Masters in Fine Art at Goldsmiths and was left wanting, needing to re-incorporate my musical self with my art self. At the same time, I was playing in the queer feminist punk trio Charismatic Megafauna, learning to play drums in public so all of this music-slash-feminism was bubbling all over my life and in-with-around my peers.

Through the last 3 years, I’ve written new songs, made percussive, choral arrangements of other people’s songs, created mash-ups of protest and pop songs, and knowledge from everywhere and anywhere I could – anywhere from the DIY punk scene in London to the ONE instructive book by a female conductor I could find (written in the 70’s, held dusty on a shelf at the Barbican library), YouTube, and a plethora of peers and colleagues that I respect and admire. I play in a few other bands and so learn through doing. This is also a key component of the F*Choir methodology — it’s DOING not SAYING — it’s public learning! It’s embodied knowledge — feeling it out until the right notes and rhythms start to come out of your body.

PHOTO-2019-08-05-21-28-07 2

(I’m 37 years old. This isn’t my only job, just one part of the hustle that it takes be an artist and musician in London today. I also teach a bit through workshops, produce large scale events and gigs for other people, develop long term community projects with institutions that want to connect with younger, queer and / or female artists and audiences. Sometimes I serve coffee. Etc.)

Now, as F*Choir musical director, my job is to find and arrange the music, make scores (we use primarily graphic scores, no traditional sheet music and no gendered voice parts), teach the tunes mostly through call-and-response techniques in our rehearsals, and sometimes lead extra rehearsals or workshops based on certain musical or performance things the choir (or I) want to work on. We’ve grown so quickly that we now have an informal ‘board’ which we call the Kitchen Table that anyone can sit around to talk about the inner workings of the choir and help make decisions, take care of money and make sure that many voices are heard in our planning and morphing.

* You state proudly that you practice intersectional feminism, and don’t assume anybody’s gender, origin or sexuality, on your site. Was this part of your original manifesto? If not, tell us why this is so important to you (I’d love to hear this in your own words)

This was one of the first things we agreed on when we started meeting together. I think feminism is a tough word for a lot of people and not everyone connects with it (probably because they’ve been historically or currently excluded from the rhetoric and practice of it). We knew we wanted to be a feminist choir — and to explore all the difficulty, inadequacy, trouble, power, emancipation, conflict, love and resources it has brought to us as women but also as people. It was important to me that F*Choir was open to people of all genders, not just women, because we’re frankly fucked if women are still the ones who are required to do all the work of equality.

It’s also very important to me and to F*Choir is that our feminism includes trans people and that trans women ARE women and included in our struggle. This is not shared by all feminist groups, especially in the UK right now where trans people are quite literally under attack by the media.

The sentence about not assuming anyone’s gender, origin or sexuality is like a challenge we set ourselves to change our own minds and stop thinking that we know things about people based on our socialised readings. We want to be free of this! We want folks to be who they are inside and this is complicated and layered. We want there to be space for more people in the practice of feminism so that it is genuine in it’s solidarity. It’s a statement for us, a mantra I hold in my own mind and try to live out all the time. Simple things but seriously takes away so much bullshit if you just STOP ASSUMING.

I wanted a place to not be afraid of getting feminism wrong. And a place to make badass music. And a place to learn about different voices. And to hear different voices. And to start accepting my own different voice.

* By singing lots of music by women, what do you hope to achieve together? 

I want to delete the very boring myth that there isn’t any good music by women. I’m literally so bored by that I could weep. It’s just not true. People are lazy and the music industry listens to money. So! That’s one reason. I’m also interested in what my dear friend and bandmate, Georgia Twigg, calls ‘different forms of leadership,’ — by which I think they mean non-patriarchal. I want to centre female voices, authorship, production, composition. I want to live in a world where people hear music and not gender, and if they do hear gender it’s because 100 new sexes have grown from the earth* and changed the make-up of our ear drums.

I got really tired of people asking me what it’s like to be a woman in music (as if I had lived in outer space on my own for 40 years) and so I hope to make it clear that women and queer people are making transformative music every day. It’s not even a novelty, it’s just the reality!

Also, there’s loads of good music by loads of people but men have gotten a lot of press, like, forever, so….can’t hurt to look elsewhere for awhile.

(*This is a reference my song “Wild Mix” which was inspired by the Xenofeminist Manifesto who gave me this imagery)


* Tell me some of the work you’ve been up to recently!

We just played a wild and joyous gig at EartH in Hackney to a sold out crowd, joined by a few other bands that have members in the choir (Dance punk drum beats with Charismatic Megafauna, Soaring acoustic stylings by Rubie, radgy thrashy tunes from molejoy). This was a fundraiser for the choir and to send us to Borealis – festival for experimental music. 

Photo by Sophie le Roux, EartH, February 2020

We’ve just landed back in London from a euphoric week of singing, workshopping, boxing, yoga, listening and a final concert, all which made up the programme for our residency at the festival. Different members of the choir led different parts, linking each activity with the idea of DOING not SAYING – what does it mean to physically do politics? What can we be, learn, do achieve when vibrating together?

This was a really massive trip for us — the first time we’ve travelled out of the UK to perform! never mind stepping into a week long residency that gave us so much time together and also in the public eye. It was totally amazing to put the community choir in a more formal setting and recognise the power of singing together especially when ‘good’ and ‘bad’ singing are not at the top of the agenda, but something more like magic is being sought after.

Photo by Thor Brødreskift/Borealis 2020



A word is a word is a word

The below essay discusses feminist semantics, phonetics and the political in the performative work of Sophie Jung, a close friend of f*choir. An initial inspiration or comparison during this writing period was the song ‘Woman is a Word’ by Empress Of, a classic in our f*choir repertoire. There are more parallels to the activity of the choir in this text, mainly about the body: there’s a part in which I talk a lot about the brain as a secondary receiver of neurological information, so the body being in charge rather than the brain. This mirrors a vibe I would describe as “Power to the Body”, a skill I’ve definitely learned in my singing endeavours within the choir. The essay was originally published online for Cabaret Voltaire & Dada Museum Zurich (2019) and has been appropriated with links to video footage for the format of this blog. 

“Word upon Word upon World upon Word upon Word upon World upon World upon Word upon Upon upon Upon word Upon word Upon world“

To those familiar with Sophie Jung’s work, the above title of performance might be perceived as one of her typical, theatrically-humoristic wordplays she exposes confidently, frequently and with brilliance. Yet despite this talent for wordplay, her rhythmic examinations presuppose an urgent question that should be taken into consideration in relation to political agency: what is a word and what is its use? 

“A woman is a word if woman is a word and a figure is only a figure if you can see its frame”. In the dance track Woman is a Word by musician Empress Of (2016) which serves as feminist anthem to exemplify the normative and hegemonic association thereof, Lorely Rodriguez calls out the semantic objectification of female gender, along with a critique of the limitations associated with what a woman is considered to be and do. This is just one of recent pop-culture’s examples reflecting the timely discourse around semantics in gender identity, and queer identity in particular. The main critique here is targeted at the social appropriation of the linguistic exemplification in the usage of gendered terms, which seems to mirror an increasingly popular act or gesture of denouncing gender association completely by the use of the non-binary term “they” instead of he or she. While personally, and within my own feminist position, I don’t see the denunciation of the female, per se, as a necessity for emancipation – yet whole-heartedly appreciate and validate those who do for their non-binary identification – I think it’s important to question gender semantics through scenarios in which the social assumption of habitual, lingual personification is pushed towards a new status, as that process creates true potential to liberate the oppressed from historical disempowerment. It is specifically useful to learn about such disambiguations through poetic and perhaps confusing prose, such as the above-referenced dance track shows. It is in this sense that the listener or receiver has a chance to contextualise what they hear through an artistic filter, while authenticating the according meaning in a process of active absorption.

Not only does Jung follow a similar strategy in her elaborately-phrased journeys through the various scenarios of cultural implications, she also adds an additional layer of distortion: her associative word chains are running and dancing, ebbing and flowing, entering and leaving her body. It’s as if each object and its according articulation, produces a new layer of physical embodiment, which Sophie weaves into a lingual anatomy of her own: 

“Eye liner or bin liner 
Cruise liner or bruise, fine, her 
skin is that type, probably. 
{not the shrug. Avoid the shrug} 
or lie in her shadow and bask. 
Or ask: 
What HAS the world come to? 
Degrees are now bought
on ever upward sliding 
scales are scrubbed off. Their value is high and higher. 
It’s hot. There’s a bit of death around. 
I would agree to degree. I mean I am ok with 
Degreasonable measures: 
I accept that my wife need not keep her lights on when reading. 
One reads in ones head. 
I don’t accept that my boy can’t have his automo 
Bile and more bile. There is nothing left to throw up on the table. 
Vehiqually reasonable that a worker has to worker has to worker 
has to work her 
To the point of a shrug. 
That shrug.”

The nonlinear, erratic and fast-changing scenarios Sophie Jung describes in an attempt to create additional layers to an image or object, bear an unconventional mannerism that is worth examining under the umbrella of feminist linguistics: without a doubt, she pays homage to the liberation from linear, rationalised objectivity as half-heartedly championed by the enlightenment ghost as per Helen Cixous’ demand “women write yourselves”. Cixous’ main concern in “The Laugh of the Medusa” was to disturb the phallocentric tone of historical writers and male contemporaries, strongly encouraging women not to imitate such style, but instead to express themselves in their own languages through their own bodies, to form a more intimate and thus authentic connection with their physical subjectivity and extend that to their readers. 

Jung not only actively stands against a patriarchal “making of sense” in her semantic agenda, but she also resonates the richness of her artistic discourse through body language, which pays an equal witness to the empowered imperative highlighted above. Roused, perhaps by an active, physical analysis of what’s surrounding her, Jung seems to expose a preference to doing so in her prioritisation of bodysuits, or costumes that play with aspects of the nude. This penchant for a visual amplification of what’s spoken mirrors her rhythmic throbbing of speech in an appropriate physique. And it is this physical methodology that marks the implications of a word, not from an analytical, associative, painterly, or interpretive point of view, but from a physiological one. It is a reminder that a word, no matter its implications, is produced in the human body as a result of neurological transmitters and vocal outputs.

So perhaps the verdict is to recognise not what a word means, but what it does. Anatomically speaking, a word is introduced into life by the respiratory system, which is the physical centre of the human body. Admittedly, some might argue that the vocal origin of words is irrelevant since its true origin stems from the brain. My suggestion, however, is to examine this rationalistic claim somewhat more critically and within a broader spectrum of human anatomy in order to prove the political potential in Jung’s work.  

Let’s take the example of birth-giving: is the delivery of a newborn triggered by neurological messengers only? A conscious command in the brain telling the body what to do? The exact circumstances leading up to the onset of labour cannot be fully explained from a medical point of view. Supposedly, this has to do with challenges around the assertion of neurological examinations during labour. However, note the chemical releases at stake: the hormone ‘oxytocin’ plays a key role in labour, stimulating the ripening of the cervix and leading to successive dilation (opening) during labour. This is also true of some other hormones released during labour called prolactin and relaxin, both endorphins. Until today, no proof has been found to justify the release of oxytocin, prolactin or relaxin through a neurological command or trigger, however, there seems to be a direct correlation between the released hormones and the stimulation of the brain. In short, there is a correspondence between the physiological functions of the body and the neurological activity in the brain and in physically-extreme occasions such as labour; the brain functions as a subordinate receiver, rather than being the mere controller or sender of information.

Birth-giving isn’t the only example in the occurrence of a bodily takeover. Another is trauma. While the manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has until very recently been associated with an exclusively mental disorder, this conception is currently shifting into being acknowledged as a physical one. And while the pharma-commercialism-driven, patriarchal and discipline-obsessed authorities in the psychiatric realm seem to be sceptical towards adopting this notion, a quite impressive number of neurologists have started considering the pathology of the condition as an equally physical one, so not preliminary associable with functions of the brain. Furthermore, a variety of medical therapists working in disciplines such as osteopathy, physiotherapy and craniosacral therapy, consider PTSD as a condition with a physical pathology per se, with the British NHS currently training therapists in concurring trauma from a physical angle specifically.

The example of birth-giving and trauma provide reflection upon the body’s articulations thriving from a purely physical origin, rather than being carried out by what is often considered as a conscious command of the brain. I propose that the same phenomenon can be applied to the vocal delivery of words. When we open our mouths for the sake of audibility, sounds can be localised and anatomically differentiated: the sound “ng” for instance, creates a nasal vibration in the head chamber, whereas sounds like “mmh” and “nnnh” force the sound down the oesophagus and into the abdomen. “Mmh” and “nnnh” are both sounds that are considered as soothing by phonetic researchers; it is assumed that infants say “nnnh” and “mmh” to express hunger while stimulating the abdomen by vibrating their belly hence feeding their lust for physical matter with the help of internally-induced sounds. Honouring this respiratory origin, Jung alienates words into new ones while stuttering their beginnings or endings, again and again, exemplified by a physiological reflection of her body:

“One could argue
Are we bodies?
One could argue
One could are you bodies

What differentiates one body from the next, please? Chin up if you have the answer yes sir? 
“Fish are animals that are cold-blooded, have fins and a backbone.”

Are we bodies?
Are you bodies and until when? 
How long over ago it is over the brim a border was crossed off 
For slip 
For slip
For slip her he is in position over
You under the impression. 

What is missing for this to be a body? Partial gaps. Missing 
formation: a blood sack in its leaky age – it’s always been leaky. 

Keep its punctures rubberglued whenever possible one would arglue. 
Punctuate something, something big or unruly, thin or slime laden, maybe it passed all control checks and it’s the anxiety of crossing that makes you discharge your de vices my vices are one hole too many or if not too many then certainly too sweeping. Stop weeping the scales are tip toes around an open body
Around an open question: It goes thusly

And if so why not now as they stick their poking rods into my sacred area of original thought.

Dancing with the phallogocentric ghost of the Avant body guard the avant before we remember the past
Elle et douce but not too eager. Calming colours call hers the backstage call mine everything else.”

Consequently, and as reflected in the script above, this physically-orchestrated dramaturgy contains an unavoidable reference to the erotic and a desire to de-censor its visual persuasiveness towards an authorisation of the unruly body. It entails elements of Audre Lorde’s perspective on the erotic as power, whose ambition is to recognise female eroticism as a somewhat useful, primaeval source of emancipation: “The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire.” Within the acknowledgement of this source, lies a power that has the potential to free those who wish to rebuke the limitations dictated by the male gaze, reminding us of the ability to act out against objectifying, pornographic conceptions of the female body, and most importantly, announcing our personal ability to physically and sexually identify ourselves. 

In this ability to act and identify from within the personal as a conscious choice, lies the political act: “Recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world, rather than merely settling for a shift of characters in the same weary drama. For not only do we touch our most profoundly creative source, but we do that which is female and self-affirming in the face of a racist, patriarchal, and anti-erotic society.” 

Along with Jung’s dedication to the eroticisms and physicalities of the spoken, comes a notably frequent activity of verbal stammer, repetition, alienation and distortion. This practice is an equally important one to highlight:

“You can lead a horse.
And with a gun to its head (it has a gun, too)
And with a gun to its head it will drink the flood back to a sustainable level.
You can burn down the stables but you can’t make a horse draw in charcoal that it went to get from 
the burned down stables, though, can you?
Re pent re pent re penthouse offers?
Most of them have gone but we do still have a
show home a new clear all clear
Slated show home that is above all particles above all
radiation levels with you when you least expect it.
The slow growth
Of hands on heads on shaking heads.
Was that it, then?
Limestone from Indiana, steel girders from Pittsburgh, cement and mortar from upper New York State,_marble from Italy, France,_ and_England,_wood_from_northern and Pacific Coast_forests, and_hardware_from_New_England.” Even the facade used a variety of_material,_most prominently_Indiana limestone but also terracotta, brick and Swedish black
*I’m sorry, I felt it needed repeating. You see without his silver cladding he looks just like anyone else, like anyone else so you may well have missed him.”

In the above excerpt, Jung’s act of repetition brings us, the audience, to a momentary state of absurdity, a lapse wherein we process defamiliarisation as a way to cast ourselves away from the habitualisation of familiar hearing and meaning. It is this state of unfamiliarity where the true potential of art can be found: “The technique of art is to make objects “unfamiliar,” to make forms difficult, to increase the difficulty and length of perception because the process of perception is an aesthetic end in itself and must be prolonged.” In Victor Shklovsky’s ‘Art as Technique’, emphasis on the importance of lingual distortion is being laid out to distinguish prose from poetry, along with the necessity to prioritise poetic absurdity overall. It seems as though Sklovsky defines this technical dissociation as his non-negotiable insistence, demanding for its recognition as poetry’s first and foremost tool.

But what does the act of defamiliarisation do for us as political bodies? Not only does it sharpen our skill to contextualise from within a place of unbiased curiosity, it also awakens our own, physiological function, crucial in outstripping biases that lead to discrimination and hence advocating change: the act of listening. And what is listening, if not a participatory announcement of our bodies? Listening makes us lift our attention so we can throw ourselves actively into realities that need to be re-invented, which in itself is an intrinsically political act. The more we listen, the more we have the opportunity to reshape predicted, heteronormative agendas that have been brought to us by political authorities who lack sincere involvement in integrating otherness, such as femininity or queerness. 

Active, or even more so critical listening is our chance for solidarity. A solidarity that teaches us how to listen to other voices and in doing so, reminding us how to make ourselves heard. In our willingness to listen, we commit to an all-encompassing inclusivity that goes beyond the superficiality of quotas, opposing neo-liberal attempts for pluralist, multicultural unity and false harmony, or to quote Holly Lewis: “The violence of liberal pluralism lies precisely in its denial of the formation of solidarities, requiring instead that one mutter banal catechisms about the unity of mankind.”

Sophie Jung, undoubtedly, urges us to listen to a critically-interwoven, twisted variety of lingual imagery, whilst calling for the physical reflection of the purpose in a word. Reminding us to perceive the political with the act of active listening – and without the aim of linear comprehension – we are given the chance to evoke the word within the chamber in which it dwells: our mouth and the surrounding membrane of our bodies. This physical participation allows us to raise our bodies in solidarity, exposing our personal, so it can be united in a dialogical activism that we have yet to claim as our own. Hence, in the tradition of Stein’s “a rose is a rose is a rose”, the meaning of a word lies in the act of how we make it.




References & Bibliography

Jung, Sophie. “Word upon Word upon World upon Word upon Word upon World upon World upon Word upon Upon upon Upon word Upon word Upon world”, First Summer Fest of Western Liberation, 5. June 2016.

Jung, Sophie. “Producing My Credentials” (Excerpt from Original Script), Libretto, South London Gallery, 11. August 2018. 

Jung, Sophie. “Are we bodies?” (Excerpt from Original Script), Fun & Fury, Cabaret Voltaire & Dada Museum, 29. October 2019.

Jung, Sophie. “Come To Grief – Come Fresh Hell or Fresh High Water” (Excerpt from Original Script), Blain Southern, 12. January 2018

Cixous, Hélène, Keith Cohen, and Paula Cohen. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” Signs 1, no. 4 (1976): 875-93. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3173239

Society for Endocrinology. “You & Your Hormones”, Accessed September 2019 https://www.yourhormones.info/topical-issues/hormones-of-pregnancy-and-labour/

Van der Kolk, Bessel A. “The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma”. New York: Viking, 2014.

Holden, Edward S. “On the Vocabularies of Children under Two Years of Age.” Transactions of the American Philological Association (1869-1896) 8 (1877): 58-68. doi:10.2307/2935721

Lorde, Audre. Uses of the erotic: the erotic as power. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Out & Out Books, 1978.

Shklovsky, Victor. “Art as Technique” (1917). Accessed September 2019. http://courseweb.stthomas.edu/ajscheiber/engl%20380/Shklovsky.pdf

Lewis, Holly. “The Politics of Everybody: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Marxism at the Intersection” Croydon: Zed Books, 2016

15. February: F*Choir + Charismatic Megafauna / Rubie / molejoy

Book/ RSVP here.

Join F*Choir & friends for this February EXTRAVAGANZA! Arrangements & originals from your fave rowdy f*minist choir.

Dance punk drum beats with Charismatic Megafauna 

Soaring acoustic stylings by Rubie

Radgy thrashy tunes from molejoy

+ DJ set to boogie to afters

We’ve got some critical queer love for Valentines season. We’ve got full-on dance punk vibes to soothe your winter soul. Bring everyone you know.

Tickets are on a solidarity economy / sliding scale for this MAD GOOD line up – book in advance to avoid disappointment. All money raised goes towards  running the choir, our trip to take part in Borealis Festival in Bergen & the supporting bands expenses.  

EartH is wheelchair accessible but please get in touch if you require support with access.