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 Sophie Seita,

My Little Enlightenment Plays’

This recording of Sophie Seita’s ‘Little Enlightenment Plays’ was an element of a programme co-organised by Hotel and Moot Press, at the Arnolfini Gallery, on 27 August 2017. Video-editing by Sophie Seita; music by r. karim. Seita’s performance showcased material from My Little Enlightenment Plays—an ongoing project of star-gazing conversations with Enlightenment source materials that bridges experimental performance, research, publication, and installation based on historical research, theoretical reading, collaboration, and contemporary queer-feminist politics. For this performance, Seita collaborated with Rhodri Karim, who contributed live improvised sound. The text drew largely from the first piece in Seita’s Enlightenment series, ‘Don Carlos, or, Royal Jelly,’ a piece that is incestuously and whimsically enamoured with Schiller’s and Verdi’s Don Carlos. It queers some of the main characters and presents the court as a (non-re-)productive beehive, but with a darker subtext (filicide, the terror of the Inquisitor), and draws parallels to avant-garde promises of revolutionary upheaval.

r. karim worked with sound and music to provide an uncanny vibratory holding space for the performance. Making use of live improvised electronics and voice-manipulation of the performer, the sound became an integral part of the performance, to complicate and sometimes reveal the emotional weight of the material.

Sophie Seita works with language on the page, in performance, in translation, and through research. She has presented her work at Bold Tendencies (London), Parasol Unit (London), Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), the Royal Academy of Arts, La MaMa Galleria (NYC), Company Gallery (NYC), SoundEye (Cork, Ireland), Neue Töne Festival (Stuttgart, Germany), Goethe-Institut New York, and elsewhere. Her publications include Les Bijoux Indiscrets, or, Paper Tigers (Gauss PDF, 2017), Meat (Little Red Leaves, 2015), Fantasias in Counting (BlazeVOX, 2014), 12 Steps (Wide Range, 2012), i mean i dislike that fate that i was made to where, a translation of the German poet Uljana Wolf (Wonder, 2015), and the edited facsimile reprint of The Blind Man (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017). Other work has appeared in The White Review, Lana Turner, Bomb, 3:AM, PEN America, Currently & Emotion (Test Centre, 2016), and Raphael Sbrzesny’s artist book Service Continu 7/7 (Spector Books, 2017). The recipient of various awards and fellowships for her creative and critical work, she also received a PEN/Heim Grant (2015) for her translation of Uljana Wolf’s Subsisters: Selected Poems (Belladonna*, 2017). She is a Junior Research Fellow at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where she’s currently finishing a scholarly book on avant-garde little magazine communities. See also:
Photography by Lúa Ribeira.


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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