• Course 6: DUET (workshop version): “Would you like to sing with me?”
Course 6: DUET (workshop version): “Would you like to sing with me?”
Course 6: DUET (workshop version): “Would you like to sing with me?”
by Ari Benjamin Meyers and Eva Birkenstock
12 – 15 August, 2019

Course description
A composition for two strangers based on three motives. Preferably, the leading voice (me) is to be performed either by a member of the exhibiting institution or by a person enlisted by the institution to perform the part. The second voice (you) is performed by a visitor. The composition was written so that it can be learned easily even by someone who cannot read notes. It is always invoked by the invitation “Would you like to sing with me?”
The four-day workshop by artist Ari Benjamin Meyers and curator Eva Birkenstock explores performative modes of staging and interacting with/within various sites in Prishtina. Its point of departure is Meyers’ work DUET (2014), a composition for two strangers based on the following premise: the composition was written so that it can be learned easily even by someone who cannot read notes. Usually, the leading voice is performed by a member of the hosting institution, museum, or gallery; here it will be performed by the workshop participants. The second voice is enacted by visitors and passersby, by the people of Prishtina we encounter at different sites in the city. This second voice is always invoked by the invitation “Would you like to sing with me?”.
DUET invites the spectator to be part of the production and the mise-en-scene of the work itself, thus challenging the long-standing opposition between consumption and production. In the workshop we will discuss modes of agency as they pertain to performative works of art produced in intimate interaction with their surroundings; how our perception of the latter can be modified through interactive performative gestures; as well as the how works themselves (and their politics) might change depending on by whom and where they are presented: in a white cube/gallery space, in a public space like a market or a park, or a semi-public space like a history museum or governmental building. These are the spaces and associated issues we will seek to engage and explore with our workshop participants.
The first day of the workshop is dedicated to training, reading and discussion, day 2 to location site visits, day 3 and 4 to performances all over the city and a closing public (?) discussion in the afternoon.
Everybody is welcome; no musical experience is necessary but a willingness to sing is essential. Participants are furthermore asked to propose potential performance sites throughout the city.

Ari Benjamin Meyers
(b. 1972, USA) lives and works in Berlin. Meyers received his training as a pianist, composer and conductor at The Juilliard School, Yale University and Peabody Institute. Trading the concert format for that of the exhibition, his works as an artist – such as Kunsthalle for Music (2018), Symphony 80 (with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and Solo for Ayumi (both 2017) – explore structures and processes that redefine the performative, social and ephemeral nature of music as well as the relationship between performer and audience. His diverse practice features musical performances for the stage and exhibition spaces as well as three operas including a commission for the Semperoper Dresden and a ballet for the Paris Opera. He has collaborated with artists including Tino Sehgal, Anri Sala and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and bands such as The Residents, Einstürzende Neubauten and Chicks on Speed. Recent solo shows include Tacet at Kunstverein Kassel (2019) and In Concert at OGR Turin (2019). His works have been shown at Frac Franche-Comté (2019); Pinault Collection, Punta della Dogana (2019); Liverpool Biennial (2018); Nowy Teatr, Warsaw (2018); Public Art Munich (2018); Witte de With, Rotterdam (2018); Biennale de Lyon (2017); Spring Workshop, Hong Kong (2017); Esther Schipper, Berlin (2017); Lenbachhaus, Munich (2017) and Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2016).

Eva Birkenstock is the director of Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen in Düsseldorf. After studying Art History and Cultural Anthropology in Cologne, Berlin and Havana, she worked in various positions at the Kunstverein in Hamburg, Halle für Kunst Lüneburg and Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. In 2014 she was the curator in residence of Ludlow38 in New York, from 2015 to 2018 of the LISTE Performance Project in Basel. Her curatorial practice is characterized by its collaborative nature and its focus on the interrelations of diverse discourses and modes of working within the cultural field. Within performance projects she recently collaborated with artists such as Melanie Bonajo, Keren Cytter, Vaginal Davis, keyon gaskin, NIC Kay and Ian White, and presented solo debuts by Ei Arakawa, Ulrike Müller and Johannes Paul Raether amongst others. She is editor of On Performance (with Joerg Franzbecker), Art and Ideology After 1989 (with Max Jorge Hinderer Cruz/Jens Kastner/Ruth Sonderegger), KAYA and initiator of the magazine-project Klassensprachen (with Manuela Ammer/Kerstin Stakemeier/ Jenny Nachtigall/Stephanie Weber). Currently she is preparing a solo exhibition of Eileen Quinlan in Düsseldorf as well as monograph publications of Ei Arakawa and Alicia Frankovich (to be released in summer 2019).

10 selected participants will be selected to take part in this course. Eligible participants must read the Terms, fill out the application form, upload the required documents and submit the application form. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Scholarships are available for participants from Kosovo.
A limited number of scholarships, that cover the participation fee, are available for international participants.