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June 11, 2016

We Are Walls Talking

Our edges define-constrict-expand who we are — and help us examine our relationships to each other, and to the world we’re in. Using art, language and breath to transform our personal space, is it possible to explore how a house tells us stories from its walls to our personal edges? A wall breathes for the house. A house is a body reformed. We care for the wall. We listen to the body. Can we learn to listen to each other if we listen to the spaces we’re in?

Edwin Torres, the three dancers from Collective Settlement; Felicia Ballos, Jean Brennan, Elizabeth Castagna, and the musician Ben Stapp playing tuba, move throughout the house. Generating sounds, images and words out of white paint, charcoal powder and water on the walls using straws, breath, hands and limbs. Music and language is heard and moved-through, in an immersive environment for the audience to leave their marks on walls that breathe and move with their own stories. Can we catch a listen before letting it go? What does that look like?

Photography by Stephanie Orentas


A self-proclaimed “lingualisualist” rooted in the languages of sight and sound, Edwin Torres was born in the Bronx and is a longtime resident of New York City. He is a poet whose highly acclaimed performances and live shows combine vocal and physical improvisation and theater. He is the author of the collections Ameriscopia (2014), One Night: Poems For The Sleepy (2012), Yes Thing No Thing (2011), In the Function of External Circumstances (2010), The PoPedology of an Ambient Language (2007), Please (2004), Onomalingua: noise songs and poetry (2002), The All-Union Day of the Shock Worker (2001), and Fractured Humorous (1999); the chapbooks Lung Poetry (1994), with photographs by Luigi Cazzaniga; and the self-published chapbooks I Hear Things People Haven’t Really Said (1992) and SandHomméNomadNo (1997). His recordings include Oceano Rise, Novo, and Holy Kid. His visual poetics have been exhibited at Exit Art, EFA Gallery in NYC, and a graphic retrospective Poesís: The Visual Language of Edwin Torres at the Center for Book and Paper Arts in Chicago. His work has been widely anthologized in volumes such as Postmodern American Poetry (2013), American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics Vol. 2 (2007), and Aloud: Voices From The Nuyorican Poets Café (1998), among others. Torres has collaborated with artists in a variety of media. As a member of Real Live Poetry (formerly Nuyorican Poets Café Live) from 1993 to 1999, he gave workshops and performed in the United States and abroad. He continues to teach his process-oriented creativity workshop, “Brainlingo: Writing The Voice Of The Body” across the nation. He created and conducted a series of structured improvisations called Poets Neurotica, and has explained the origins and tenets of his movement as “i.e. (interactive eclecticism).” Torres has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Art, the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. He has also been awarded the Nuyorican Poets Café Fresh Prize for Poetry, and his CD Holy Kid was included in the Whitney Museum’s exhibit The American Century Pt. II. He is coeditor of the journal/app Rattapallax. From 2008 to 2011, he was a periodical guest blogger for the Poetry Foundation’s blog Harriet.

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