MARNsalon with Nate Pyper
Monday – Thursday, October 15th-October 18th, 2018
Nate Pyper is an alphabet artist working in publishing, performance, and video. He maintains an ongoing research practice on queer anarcho-punk zines of the late 80s and early 90s. He is a 2018 graduate of the Yale School of Art.
In her text Literacy in 30 Hours: Paulo Freire’s Process in North East Brazil, Cynthia Brown details educator and philosopher Paulo Freire’s methods for using literacy as a tool for collective liberation and individual autonomy. Brown’s overview describes a literacy that springs directly from the lived material experience of Freire’s poor and working class students rather than an abstract trickle-down literacy that upholds colonial structures of domination. Using these methods, a body politic may emerge. Brown says as much in her introductory statement: “Learning to read is a political act.”
It follows that if we take literacy’s role seriously in the formation of a body politic(s), then we must look to the tensions between language and the body itself. How are the two distinct and how are they interdependent? Where are the places at which they meet? When do bodies resist language, and vice versa? What happens when they don’t play nice?
In order to flesh these questions out in my own work, I use language as a sieve and I push the body through it. When I say “language” I mean text, images, and the spoken word. When I say “body” I mean both the material body and the image or sign of the body. I seek to contribute to a bodied discourse. I’d like to find out what exists at the margins of meaning and I plan to use my body to get there. I anticipate that a corporeal confrontation with these margins will manifest alternative ways of relating to each other. We might then ask ourselves, “Where to next?”
Answering this question may lead to lines of inquiry that allow us to seek out and identify forms of body literacy: How is meaning held in the body? How is it transferred or reproduced? What haptic networks do we form to distribute meaning from one body to another? Will a body literacy allow us to “read” the world around us through the bodies that constitute it? How, then, might we “rewrite” it? What might it mean to engage with the body as a transformative site of knowledge production?
We are grateful to accept funding for the 2018 MARNsalon program from the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund and the Milwaukee Arts Board.