Félicia Atkinson: The Candle (La Bougie)

Saturday, March 31st, ISSUE presents Parisian-born artist Félicia Atkinson presenting a brand new performance involving an imaginary dialogue between the poems of Francis Ponge (1899-1988) and texts of her own, in French and in English, accompanied by electronics, voice and piano.

Atkinson’s distinct practice incorporates diffuse poetic atmospheres and pointillistically rendered sounds that constantly suspend and re-introduce themselves. Often moving to emphasize the relationship between music and sculpture -- sound and its spatialization -- Atkinson’s work concentrates upon the implicit narrative of a “poetics of things” happening in sound. Here, like in the poems of Ponge, a profound “readymade” empathy toward objects, technology, and music emerges. Atkinson is also co-director for the label Shelter Press alongside Bartolomé Sanson, which has released works from Ben Vida, Gábor Lázár, Tomoko Sauvage, D/P/I, Stephen O’Malley, and others.

"La nuit parfois ravive une plante singulière dont la lueur décompose les chambres meublées en massifs d'ombres." The night sometimes revives a singular plant whose glow breaks down the room furnished in masses of shadows" -- Francis Ponge, The Candle (La Bougie) in Le Parti Pris des Choses / The Nature of Things, 1942



This program is curated by writer and media theorist DeForrest Brown Jr. Concerned with speculative futures in performative contexts, Brown is part of the cataloguing space Elevator to Mezzanine and was ISSUE's 2017 Suzanne Fiol Curatorial Fellow.

Parisian-born artist Félicia Atkinson’s multifaceted work embraces improvisation, science-fiction, composition, chance, noise, abstraction and poetry. Her sound palette draws from the history of electronics, musique concrète, field recordings and improvisation through the use of synthesizers, guitar and piano, abstract distortions, text-sound and infra bass. Félicia’s recent album Hand in Hand has generated a great deal of curiosity, excitement and intrigue, with Fact Magazine writing that Atkinson takes “the dying bleat of obsolete technology, the crack and stutter of her own voice, the atonal clatter of intuitively-played instruments – and sculpts them into flawless vignettes that lodge themselves deep in the psyche. Like the dystopian science fiction it references, Hand in Hand is bewitching, intense, meditative and at times, deeply unsettling.” She also runs the experimental music label Shelter Press with Bartolomé Sanson. Félicia Atkinson has played in international festivals such as GRM’s Presence Electronique (Paris, FR), Rewire Festival (Den Hague, NL), Novas Frequencias (Rio De Janeiro, BZ), Sound Of Stockholm (Stockholm, SE), Borderline Festival (Athens, NL). She also performed in many art venues including Lisa Cooley Gallery (New York, USA), Palais de Tokyo (Paris, FR), Kunsthal Charlottenbord (Copenhagen, DK).