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Virtual Talk: Felicia Atkinson for Art Taaaalkkkks at Art Institut Basel

Text by CLOT Magazine

Sound performance by Félicia Atkinson, Room 4, CAN Centre d’Art Neuchâtel (2019). Photo credit: hoto: S. Verdon / CAN Centre d’Art Neuchâtel

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 2, at 5.30 pm (CEST), Félicia Atkinson will join an online session of Art Taaalkkkks, a series of open lectures and discursive events taking place at the Art Institut Basel curated by Elise Lammer.

Félicia Atkinson is a musician, visual artist and writer and is currently an artist-in-residence at La Becque (Switzerland). She is also the second half of the music label and publishing imprint Shelter Press. Her work is an open reflection on what and how it is to listen and what kind of space and forms it implicates.⁠ During her live session for  Art Taaalkkkks, Félicia Atkinson will discuss A Forest Petrifies, her novel about the perception of time and how some places mark people’s minds.⁠The first part, Diamond Feedback, was released in October 2019.

Conceived by Atkinson over the past five years, the story takes inspiration from the Petrified Forest in Arizona and its ability to change from an organic to a mineral state over time. The ongoing writing process has been the starting point of many of Atkinson’s music lyrics, recent records, and exhibitions. ⁠
A part of the book takes place in the middle of the desert in an indistinct future. Two men are having a discussion by a fire in a modernist house. The music they are listening to is⁠ not emitted by a device, but by themselves. It’s a new kind of technology. They look at the embers of the fire, and it reminds them of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch. They suddenly⁠ wonder if those embers could be a republic of some kind.⁠

In a recent interview following her last album publication in 2019, Atkinson shared when she’s writing lyrics for her compositions I kind of fish a part of them in art magazines, handbooks and guides, but also in archives in libraries and I do improvised cut-ups, picking the words as I am recording, playing with my subconscious. I feel very inspired by the automatic writing techniques of the surrealists and their cadavre exquis. I enjoy mixing diverse sources; my own poetry, a handbook about ikebana, a few words by David Antin or Roger Caillois, an interview of a painter like Shirley Jaffe or this strange Architect St EOM.

It is a bit like transforming yourself through those different stories, but also composing with the elements enough so it becomes abstract in. way, a bit like cubism in painting.

It will be interesting to see if she has a similar approach and intricate threading stories when she’s writing her novels.

(Media courtesy of Institut Kunst)
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