Session 2 / Death of the Author


digital video, durational performance with sonic score based on W+W typeface

/ / / this work, as video essay and performance, was published in Textshop Experiments, Vol. 4, Winter 2018: From Digital to Print and is available to for viewing there / / /


This second session continues to address ideas presented in Session 1 / Are We Electric?, wherein the performer ostensibly performs the intellectual process of translation/distillation of knowledge—the body as conduit—seeking to understand any quantifiable reasoning behind linguistic action, exposing translational error, while trying to connect seemingly disparate ideas surrounding our understanding and experience of communication and its relationship to and as various form(s). Session 2 utilizes Roland Barthe’s The Death of the Author as a source text for deeper investigation of the aforementioned ideas through a multimedia exploration of the essay, which itself functions as catalyst and contextual evidence. 

In the spirit of Henri Chopin, Barthes’ essay is uttered/transmitted from the reader/user/performer and captured via contact mics affixed to non-oral resonating points of the body; obfuscating the linguistic authority of the author and the text itself. During oration electric shocks are administered via a violet ray[1] at points when errors/glitches occurred after processing/reproducing the essay through multiple translation platforms (book > .PDF > .Docx > online morse generator + W+W* > morse [sonic] > morse [code] > .docx). The shocks illuminate and punctuate these errors while interfering in both oral utterance and electric transmission—an effort to keep the original transference of knowledge whole by retrieving what was lost in translation.

It is an attempt to perform what Barthes has written without losing its essence.


*W+W is a "typeface" designed by H.R. Buechler in response to re-visualize the sonic occurrence of morse, consisting of a pattern of thick and thin lines. 


[1] “A violet ray is an antique medical appliance used during the early 20th century in the obsolete medical therapy called electrotherapy. Their construction usually feature a combination of a disruptive discharge coil with an interrupter to apply a high voltage, high frequency, and low current to the human body for therapeutic purposes.” (Wikipedia)