This Tuesday Evenings presentation bypassed the usual lecture format with poet, sound artist, and author LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs jumping right into a reading/performance of her work. Complete with a simple, compact, and thrilling setup of electronic devices and wires perched and hanging in front of her as she moved between the premeditated and improvisational, this hour was clearly not meant to be a passive exercise for an audience who all seemed a little thrown but delighted with their circumstance. Diggs performed from TwERK, a selection of her poems published by the feminist literary collective Belladonna, as well as five poems written in response to paintings by the artist Kehinde Wiley.
The experience was infectious as Diggs effortlessly traversed numerous languages, sounds (both physically and electronically produced), inflections, rhythms, and repetitions. It was both foreign and familiar. While there was a degree of disorientation and puzzlement throughout, all of the elements perceived (words, pulses, sounds, etc.) seemed true and necessary. The engagement was complete—a consensus of the cerebral and the visceral.
Having read Diggs’s poems—with my own voice struggling through pronunciations, querying over implications, and following curiosities in my head—before experiencing their performance by the artist herself, I was struck by the expansive life of this work. The 9.29.15 Tuesday Evenings presentation will be with me for some time.
Being there was best, but the video podcast is a good alternative for those who couldn’t make it and a great resource for those of us who want to revisit our experience. Enjoy it and let me know what you think. link