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Nicoline van Harskamp's English Forecast

Nicoline van Harskamp explores the variation and future of spoken English in English Forecast, a new online work for the BMW Tate Live Performance Room on 19 September 2013.

tatebmwliveBMW Tate Live Performance Room is a pioneering strand of live, online performances simultaneously seen by international audiences across world time zones.

This new performance will examine how the English language evolves and takes on new forms depending on many cultural factors. English is one of the world’s most commonly used cross-border languages. More people speak English as a non-native language than speak it as a first language.

Through a myriad of dialects and new forms of communication, daily language, sentence formation and pronunciation are changing and the language has the potential to become unrecognisable as we know it now. 

For English Forecast, Nicoline van Harskamp has researched what the possible future sound and nature of spoken English might be.

A team of actors, with different mother tongues, will perform this language, and online audiences are invited to participate by repeating what they hear. Their task involves use of the full range of consonants and vowels of the International Phonetic Alphabet – a notation system for the totality of sounds that can be made by speech.

Van Harskamp’s interest in the future of the English language can also be seen in her works, New Latin and European English Exercise. For New Latin, performed at the Fourth Bucharest Biennial, Van Harskamp recited in Romanian, a script that she wrote following interviews with Romanians about their use of spoken English. European English Exercise follows the format of a Linguaphone course with performers repeating taped sounds.

Audiences are invited to enter the Performance Room via at 20.00 hrs in the UK and exactly the same moment across time zones on the specified dates – 15.00 hrs on the East Coast of America, 21.00 hrs in mainland Europe and 23.00 hrs in Russia.

The global online audience are encouraged to participate in the performance through

Nicoline van Harskamp lives and works in Amsterdam where she is a head lecturer at the Sandberg Fine Arts Institute. Her previous projects include Yours in Solidarity which addressed the very recent history of anarchism through a correspondence archive, and was presented in different stages of completion in Mexico City, Frankfurt, Genk, London, Shanghai, Zagreb and Brussels. Nicoline van Harskamp has staged her live pieces at Witte de With, Rotterdam; New Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Arnolfini, Bristol; Serralves Foundation, Porto; and Kaaitheater, Brussels. In 2009 she won the Dutch national prize for contemporary art, Prix de Rome.

This innovative format offers international audiences an opportunity to experience entirely new live works at Tate and to join a discussion about the work online. Each performance is archived and available to view online after the live event. Previous artists in the series are Jérôme Bel, Pablo Bronstein, Emily Roysdon, Harrell Fletcher, Joan Jonas, Liu Ding and Meiro Koizumi.

BMW Tate Live is a four-year partnership between BMW and Tate, which focuses on performance, interdisciplinary art and curating digital space. Now in its second year, new commissions for 2013 include those online for BMW Tate Live: Performance Room and live performances at Tate Modern for BMW Tate Live: Performance Events. 

BMW Tate Live is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

Author: Editor

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