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Sound poet and digital artist Jaap Blonk to perform


Published November 1, 2013

Jaap Blonk

There will be plenty of hissing, moaning, flapping, croaking, puckering, African chants, electrically enhanced sound and more when the intense, eye- and ear-opening Dutch sound poet, digital artist and experimental performer Jaap Blonk visits UB this month.

Blonk will lecture and perform at two events that are free of charge and open to the public. Timely arrival is requested so as not to disrupt the performances.

His visit is sponsored by the UB Techne Institute for Arts and Emerging Technology, and the Department of Media Study.

Blonk will discuss his art and its roots in sound poetry, improvisation and new music, and present historic examples of sound poetry, as well as his own work, at a lecture from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 12 in the Center for the Arts Screening Room, 112 Center for the Arts, North Campus. The lecture will include live performance; projection of texts and scores; sound examples, including work with other musicians with electronics; and video fragments. A question-and-answer session will follow. 

Later that day, Blonk will give a performance of “Dr. Voxoid’s Next Move” from 7-8:30 p.m. in the CFA Screening Room.

This improvisational performance is likely to include sound, strangely compelling songs in Blonk’s “personal English, which he calls “IngleTwist”; electronic and acoustic phonetic processes, samples from John Cage’s Solos for Voice and other sources. Blonk calls this a “Dadaist experiment,” and as he is performing is not sure what his next move will be. “It may be a knight’s jump, a king’s stately step or a bishop’s stealthy sneak-through,” he says.

Blonk is a self-taught composer, performer and poet who has presented his work throughout the world. Born in Holland in 1953, he was influenced by mid-century German artist Kurt Schwitters, whose work spans and represents the Dadaist, Constructivist and Surrealist movements. Early studies in mathematics and musicology led Blonk to vocal performances that began with recitations of poetry by other artists and became improvisations employing his own compositions and modes of delivery—he “plays” his cheeks, lips and throat to spectacular effect, for instance.

He began working with electronics around 2000, first using samples of his own voice, then employing pure sound synthesis. As a vocalist, Blonk is known for his powerful stage presence, almost childlike freedom in improvisation and keen grasp of structure.

For information about Blonk, contact Holly Johnson in the Techne Institute at 645-2533 or