Anna Mayer, WORD THE WORD: Negative Sessions
Begun in 2010, WORD THE WORD is an ongoing series of projects intended to initiate and affirm the connections between exploration and language, consciousness and articulation. To date the events and performances have included a guided listening session of psychedelic music with language as its lyrical subject matter, roundtable reenactments of the Surrealists' sex research sessions, and a fiery “materialogue” punctuated by ceramic instrumentals. The series contemplates what role language might be able to play in transformation and groundedness. Into the ether, into the ether; we speak of and to the ether, so as to make the tacit tactile.
strong>Negative Sessions explores what we are not. Informed by the structure of the ‘Negative Confession’ from the Egyptian Book of the Dead and linguist George Lakoff’s ideas about framing, the event considers how language is used to constitute the self, identity, and intention in the negative; by asserting what it is that we are not, we are articulating what it is that we are as well as what we refuse to be. In a world that encourages strong, positive assertions and affirmations as the primary opportunity for an individual to set goals and achieve clarity, Negative Sessions proposes that a complementary practice based on the process of elimination can be just as useful for creating a space for resistance. Sometimes you’ve got to cross things out before you can write anything new.
Negative Sessions is the fourth project in the WORD THE WORD series. This fall a book entitled Loose Lips Loosen Lips will be published in Los Angeles. Designed by Tanya Rubbak, the 100-page paperback chronicles and contextualizes the first three projects of the series.
Anna Mayer lives and works in Los Angeles, where she received her MFA from CalArts in 2007. Moving between collectivity and introspection, Mayer attempts to establish an “outcantatory” practice that uses language, fire, and intention to propose relationships encouraging embodiment and the rejection of discrete, linear modes of reception. Mayer has had solo exhibitions at Night Gallery and Sea and Space Explorations in Los Angeles. Group exhibitions include the Hammer Museum (CA), Cerritos College Art Gallery (CA), A.I.R. Gallery (NY), and Klaus Von Nichtssagend (NY). In addition to her solo practice, Anna works with Jemima Wyman as part of the collaborative duo CamLab. In the first part of 2012, CamLab staged three events at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, as part of the museum's Engagement Party series.