Performance Poetries: Vahni Capildeo & Simone Forti

  • Online event
  • Wednesday, 15 December 2021
  • Live discussion, starting at 6pm. Part of our Sculpture & Poetry Research Season, developed in partnership with Corridor8 and the University of Leeds.

Vahni Capildeo and Simone Forti discuss the cultural histories of collaboration, instruction, translation and recording they adapt.

Vahni Capildeo is a writer and editor. Their work ranges from book-length poems to experiments with performance. Their work explores voices, landscapes and movement between languages, cultures and places. Simone Forti is a dancer, artist and writer. Her work ranges from open choreographic systems to drawing. She uses improvisational techniques to explore everyday gestures, technologies and animality.

This event is the second in a four-part series that brings together two acclaimed practitioners from different backgrounds for artistic ‘blind dates’, where they discuss how their work combines a care for materiality with a desire to stretch language.

Chaired by Nick Thurston (Associate Professor in Fine Art, University of Leeds), the four events establish a series of new conversations. Our guests come from across four generations and five continents. They work with many languages and almost as many disciplines, including installation art, dance, performance poetry, ceramics, textiles and digital literature. All events will feature solo presentations and live conversations held online. Extra reference resources for each guest and an evolving package of engagement activities for schools and families will be available to access on the project microsite.  


This event is free, and takes place online on Zoom on Wednesday 15 December, starting at 6pm.

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About the speakers

Vahni Capildeo was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, and earned their DPhil in Old Norse Literature and Translation Theory as a Rhodes Scholar at Christ Church, University of Oxford. They worked as an editorial assistant on the Oxford English Dictionary, have held numerous fellowships, and are an influential writer, commentator and performer. Capildeo’s poems engage with themes of geographic, intimate and linguistic distances, often exploring the movement and materiality of languages and bodies. Their books include No Traveller Returns (Salt, 2003), Utter (2013), Measures of Expatriation (2016), Venus as a Bear (2018), Skin Can Hold (all Carcanet, 2019), Odyssey Calling (Sad Press, 2020), and Like a Tree Walking (Carcanet, 2021). Their accolades include the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection 2016.

Simone Forti is a dancer, artist, and writer. In the spring of 1961, she presented a full evening of her Dance Constructions at Yoko Ono’s New York studio. These pieces proved to be influential in both dance and the visual arts. Forti has performed internationally, including Illuminations with Charlemagne Palestine at the Louvre (Paris, 2014). Many of Forti’s works, including her Dance Constructions, drawings, and holograms, are in the permanent collection of major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Stedelijk (Amsterdam). One of Forti’s holograms, Harmonics 1975, is featured in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute. Forti’s first book, Handbook in Motion, was published in 1974 by the Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Her most recent book, The Bear in The Mirror, was co-published by Koenig Books (London) and Vleeshal (Middelburg) in 2018. Forti is represented by The Box, Los Angeles.

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