Essay: Afterall: Meredith Monk in ‘Perception as Content’

Writing for Afterall, Isla Leaver-Yap discusses the tumultuous performances, operas and cabarets of Meredith Monk, and their attempt to form a unique physical and performative language.

‘The use of sign language’, said Alexander Graham Bell in 1871, ‘is pernicious. For the only way by which language can be thoroughly mastered is by using it for the communication of thought without translation into any other sign language.’ In Graham Bell’s response to his deaf wife’s desire to learn sign language, he suggests not only the primacy of the oral and written word, but also reveals his anxiety behind its transferral into other perceptual or gestural forms – in this case bodily communication…

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