“Those were the days, when we were all at sea. It seems like yesterday to me. Species, sex, race, class; in those days none of this meant anything at all. No parents, no children, just ourselves, strings of inseparable sisters warm and wet, indistinguishable one from the other, gloriously indiscriminate, promiscuous and fused. No generations, no future, no past.”
Sadie Plant Preamble from Zeroes + Ones (4th Estate London, 1997)
The Ancient Greeks had two distinct concepts relating to notions of time. Whilst Chronos referred to chronological time, Kairos signified a ‘time-lapse’; an indeterminate time in which everything happens at once, in the present moment. The human instinct of marking the present with an improvised act of creativity is the supreme moment of the ‘now’, manifest through the urgent, demonstrative act of self-expression; the gesture, the strike, the cut, the mark, the holler.
Inspired by Sadie Plant’s seminal book Zeros + Ones (1997), Kairos by Anat Ben-David is a theatrical song-cycle bringing together performers and musicians from the worlds of opera, electronic and experimental composition, in a futuristic staging created with avant-garde fashion studio Boudicca. Following the poetic schema of Zeros + Ones through a cycle of nine songs, Kairos makes reference to technological developments, post-humanist writings and cybernetic theories.
Over recent years, artist-musician Anat Ben-David has evolved a hybrid working practice she calls OpeRaaRt, developing ‘sonic images’ shaped through dynamic combinations of sound, word and movement. Her live performance and solo album MeleCh was launched at Stanley Picker Gallery in 2014.
Kairos is specially commissioned to celebrate 20 years of the Stanley Picker Gallery. The project was devised through a series of collaborative workshops, and previewed at Stanley Picker Gallery in January 2017. Kairos received its first major public presentation on Wed 5 July 2017 as part of the Reveal Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum, with individual song recitals on the hour from 10am-5pm and a full performance at 6.30pm (90 mins).
Kairos: Duration 90 mins
Act I Preamble / I Say That That / Ordinary Song
Act II Icaros / Better Scenery / Methusalach
Act III Anna Freud / Time Improvisation / Herself
Written & Directed by Anat Ben-David
Art Direction & Costume by Boudicca
Musical Arrangment by Anat Ben-David & Tom Milsom
Methusalach – Music by Tom Milsom & Anat Ben-David
Better Scenery – Words by Sean Ashton
Preamble – Words based on a text from Zeros + Ones (1997) by Sadie Plant
Moving Image by Anat Ben-David
Stills Photography by Jet
Profound respect and thanks to Sadie Plant for inspiration
Voice – Anat Ben-David, Bishi, Anna Dennis, Sharon Gal, Katie Morel-Orchard, Richard Scott
Piano and Keyboard – Tom Milsom
Electronics – Ivan Lapse
Violin – Angharad Davies
Trombone – Hilary Jeffery
Percussion – Serge Vuille
Additional Performers V&A Reveal Festival:
Voice – Wiliam Purefoy
Trombone – Owen Dawson
Trumpet – Daniel Walton
Cello – Ute Kanngiesser
Production & Crew:
Production Manager – Adi Nachman
Lighting Design – Azusa Ono
Sound Mixer – Joel Cahen
Projection Operator – Rob MacPherson
Hair & Makeup – Kennaland
Costume Assistant – Alex Watts, Ames Rushfirth, Marcela Baltarete, Alejandro Virgos,Thibaut Knapp, Tabitha Ringwood, Hernan Guardamagna
Anat Ben-David is an artist, musician, performer and collaborative member of the artist-band Chicks On Speed. Completing her PhD in Fine Art at Kingston University in 2014, her creative interests lie in the relationships between text, sound and digital image, mediated through improvisation and performance. Ben-David’s shows and collaborations have been presented internationally at Tate Britain, London; ICA, London; Stanley Picker Gallery, London; MoMA, New York; Migros Museum, Zurich; Borealis Festival, Bergen; Beursschouwburg, Brussels; MoMAK, Kyoto; Montermeso, Vitoria; Mosak, and ZKM, Karlsruhe.
Boudicca is an avant-garde studio founded in 1997 by Zowie Broach and Brian Kirkby, whose innovative work eloquently yet disobediently explores the creative territories between and beyond the worlds of art and design. Presenting collections in London and New York, they became the first independent British fashion house to be invited to the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 2007. In 2012 they exhibited in Fashioning the Object at the Art Institute of Chicago, collaborated with filmmaker Mike Figgis at the Royal Opera House and were awarded a Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University London. Broach is Head of Fashion at the Royal College of Art.