Kitchen Table Conversation with Elaine Mitchener

Unheard Voices

online eventMonday 7 December '20

online event via Zoom:

Host: Mirjam Zegers
English spoken

“Your silence will not protect you.” Audre Lorde
“We need to raise our voices a little more.” Mitsuye Yamada

You can attend this event with Zoom:
In case you don't want to install Zoom, read this manual (pdf in Dutch).

George Floyd’s killing at the hands of an institution which is supposed to ‘serve and protect’ unleashed a global outpouring of rage, anguish and despair. Around the world people mobilised and took to the streets demanding an end to institutional systemic racism. And in some countries, statues were toppled at the hands of the public. This begs the question: Who do monuments represent and who do they speak for? And what is your artistic practice for and what is its relevancy? Where are you in this climate of change?

Vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener will talk with us about this question and focuses on the unheard voices of statues, rooms, places. Central in her conversation will be Benjamin’s concept and practice of memory: ‘Eingedenken’, that takes remembrance as an act of responsibility. How do we choose to remember? History is written by the victors, said Benjamin, and the consequences resonate for ages.

The conversation will be moderated by Djuwa Mroivili (HALT, bachelor of Music, classical piano) and Ruth van Lenthe (alumna master Education in Arts).

In preparation for this conversation you can listen to Elaine’s podcast. Check also the open call below. You can contribute to the conversation by sending in your own 'unheard voice'.

Open Call for Participation

You can participate in this event by checking in online, but you can also contribute your own ‘unheard voice’ in a 3-minute film or sound piece. We look forward to hearing from you!

Encounter / Engagement / Enactment
Engage with your environment. Seek out the statues and monuments of your local area, parks, colleges, libraries, town squares, etc. Investigate its history. Question your monuments/ ‘monuments’ and what they say. Do they represent you?

Eingedenken is Walter Benjamin’s concept and practice of memory. Remembrance as an act of responsibility. How one chooses to remember

History is written by the victors.” (Benjamin)
History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.” (James Baldwin)
then I will speak upon the ashes…” (Sojourner Truth)

Using the tools of Encounter / Engagement / Enactment and reflecting on ‘monuments’, Baldwin, Truth and Benjamin (and any other writers/ thinkers/ theorists for inspiration), create a ‘vocal response’ to an aspect of your personal / social /cultural history. It can be based on anything e.g. family, food, rituals, gadgets, objects, street names, clothing, memorials etc. Use it to interrogate, question, debate, educate and enlighten.

Your approach to this task can be serious or humorous (or both!) as long as it is honest and direct. The presentation of each task should be a maximum of 3mins. It can be a film or a sound piece.
Remember: the ‘voice’ can also be extended beyond the body experience. It can be environmental.

Send your file with a WeTransfer or OneDrive link to Mirjam Zegers:

More Elaine Mitchener

Listen to concerts by Elaine Mitchener with London Sinfonietta (Yet Unheard, BBC 3, 28/10/20), and with Ensemble MAM (manufaktur für aktuelle musik) in the Donaueschingen Festival (17/10/20), available through the German radio station SWR: On Being Human as Praxis, five works by five composers for voice, electronics and ensemble based on the work of feminist cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter.

About Kitchen Table Conversations

This talk will be live and online and is part of Kitchen Table Conversations in which we collaborate with Education in Art, Theatre, and Music, Art & Design and Corpo-real (MA Interior Architecture) in Zwolle. Previous guests at the Kitchen Table offered insights into their approaches to the concept of Home as seen from socially engaged and artistic perspectives: how to create a sense of belonging?
Elaine Mitchener (Photo: Dmitri Djuric)
From 11.00 you can sea and hear Elaine Mitchener