Twixt The Cup And The Lip #3 (Letting language speak itself?)


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Curt Cloninger

Artist’s Statement

“‘Twixt The Cup And The Lip #3 (Letting language speak itself?)” is the third in a performance series where I choose a single phrase and massage it through various software and human contortions. I did the first performance in the dining hall of the former Black Mountain College (the site of John Cage’s first multimedia happening in 1952). I began with Cage’s phrase, “I have nothing to say and I am saying it.”

These performances pursue the slippage of language across multiple territories — across the body (vocal timbre and accent, handwriting); across software (voice and handwriting [mis]recognition, language translation, random number generation); across the network (Google image database as collective unconscious); across sign systems (binary image source code as ascii text, abstract tracings as typographic glyphs, Oulipian constraints as performance scores); across media (live performance, time-shifted net_video, digital pdf file, printed book). Lather, wash, rinse, repeat.


Curt Cloninger is an artist, writer, and Assistant Professor of New Media at the University of North Carolina Asheville. His art undermines language as a system of meaning in order to reveal it as an embodied force in the world. By layering, restructuring, hashing, eroding, exhausting, and (dis)splaying language, he causes language to perform itself until its “meaning” has less to do with what it denotes and more to do with how it behaves. His work has been featured in the New York Times and at festivals and galleries from Korea to Brazil. Exhibition venues include Digital Art Museum [DAM] Berlin, L’Instituto de México à Paris, Living Arts of Tulsa, and The Art Gallery of Knoxville. He maintains,,, and in order to facilitate a more lively remote dialogue with the Sundry Essences of Wonder.