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For Cally Spooner’s first solo exhibition in Belgium, the Woning Van Wassenhove plays host to three interlocking works by the artist – Narrator’s Script (2020); Maggie’s Solo (2021); and A Lecture on Stagnation (2018–19). The first two works are sonic, the third is a publication. Each is a part of Spooner’s ongoing project, DEAD TIME, which centres around a 63-page performance score of the same name. Consisting of drawings, photos and fan mail, the artist has been incrementally translating this score into live performance, sound, scripts and installations since its composition in 2018.

A 21st century climate in which everyday performance is digitally rated, ranked, tracked, quantified then harvested motors every dimension of life through ‘chrononormativity’.

Chrononormativity is an imperial, masculinist standardisation of time that orders labour, bodies, nervous systems, and digital technologies into a future orientated linearity. It presents itself through productivity and liveliness, yet it deadens the energies that power social agency and makes it increasingly hard to tell the difference between what is alive and what is dead.

In response to this temporal aggressor, Cally Spooner has been working with an alternative temporality that might be resistant to chrononormativity called ‘dead time’.

DEAD TIME refuses future-oriented-outcomes and arrives in a pervading-present-tense, in which no major action, nor narrative development, takes place. Dead time is an event that is chrononormatively-inactive and therefore holds the potential to restitute life.

Narrator’s Script first appeared in Spooner’s solo show, DEAD TIME, at the Art Institute Chicago in 2019. It was subsequently produced as a sound work for Common Guild, Glasgow, using a recording made at Camden Art Centre in 2020, organised and commissioned by Parrhesiades, London. The piano is Neil Luck, the Narrator is Jesper List Thomsen.

Maggie’s Solo is a preparatory choreographic study for a pending live commission of the same name that will materialise at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, in June 2021. At the Woning Van Wassenhove we find only a soundtrack, displaced from her image: the dancer Maggie Segale.

Spooner has read versions of her A Lecture on Stagnation (2018–19) at different venues. It was written for Making Oddkin. for joy, for trouble, for volcano love, on the volcanic island Nisyros, curated by Nadja Argyropoulou. It was re-edited for a reading at Casa Bosques, bookshop, in Mexico City then finished via a reading at the Grüner Salon, Volksbühne Berlin. This is the first time it appears in print, published by uh books, designed by Will Holder.

With warm thanks to Cally Spooner and Gloria de Risi for making this exhibition possible, and for Will Holder for including A Lecture on Stagnation in the Please Do Not Bend series of uh books. Thanks also to Common Guild and Lynton Talbot at Parrhesiades. Thanks to Maggie Segale for dancing Maggie’s Solo, to Charles Billot for capturing Maggie and to Tom Sedgwick for sound editing everything. Also thanks goes to Hendrik Folkerts, for curating DEAD TIME in 2019 at Art Institute, Chicago, and shaping the conversation since.

Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens

Woning Van Wassenhove

Brakelstraat 50

9830 Sint-Martens-Latem, Belgium


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