Friends of the Labyrinth ~ Speaking the Matter

Friday, March 8, 2024, 8pm
709 N. Hill 90012

Come join the Friends of the Labyrinth, a body of new work, music, and performances in concert with Speaking the Matter, an oral history skill-building and reference book published by Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA) and East of Borneo.

Friday, March 8, 8pm @ LACA’s Oral History Center

Performances will occur in and around the Oral History Center, LACA’s street-level storytelling program. Miguel Ayala will present his film Dust Catchers and perform the score live with Noah Malone. Kai-Luen Liang and abbi page will present new multimedia and spoken word performances. New atmospheric musical works will be presented by Harisant on gong, Anja Salonen on digital theremin, and Scott Benzel on cellular automata. Additional works by Yixuan Tan and Scott Benzel.

The Cretan labyrinth, the ur labyrinth, with its onion-or-brain stem-like structure and folds, suggests both Foucault’s “labyrinth of time… folded back upon itself” and French writer and translator Pierre Klossowski’s “Vicious Circle,” the central figure in Forgetting and anamnesis in the lived experience of the eternal return of the same. For Foucault, each “return” layers itself upon the previous pass, echoing and concealing its genesis: “The labyrinth, which only unfolds within a hidden landscape, reveals nothing that can be seen: it partakes of the order of enigma, not of the theater.”

Klossowski reminds us that the obstacles to self-reflection, autobiography, and oral history are not purely internal, that we: “must equally be on guard against external biography – the narration of witnesses, their interpretation, the interpretation of posterity,” to which we might add, “the interpretation of the internet, Google, etc.”

Writer Jorge Luis Borges suggests that it is the nature of labyrinths to expand: “I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars.” Meanwhile, Foucault cautions a different order of expansion– inward: “The labyrinth leads to a Minotaur which is a mirror, a mirror of birth and of death, the deep and inaccessible point of all metamorphoses […] the Minotaur, by his very being, opens a second
labyrinth: the entrapment of man, beast, and the gods, a knot of appetites and mute thoughts…”

Like the fast-multiplying subterranean tunnels of neo-antinomians crossed with a local Friends of the Library, we construct a diffuse sodality befriending the labyrinth, source and reflection of our delusions of reminiscence, and its ornately mirrored Minotaur, source of our profound self-unknowing.


The Oral History Center
OHC is a street-level storytelling program of LACA. Stories gathered encompass explanations of an artist’s teaching philosophy, descriptions of studio fires, loss of artwork, museum labor, negotiating with curators, financial struggles, and further contextualizing collections that show our complicated artistic lives.

Speaking the Matter
Published by LACA and East of Borneo this workbook approaches the practice and application of oral narratives as a co-constructed creative endeavor rather than reparative “truth” work. Resisting the idea of a recorded interview as a neutral historical document, this skill-building workbook instead shares perspectives on listening, remembering, gossiping, questioning, and framing, with the aim of telling our stories not as fixed subjects but as artists who are alive and breathing. Designed by Joy Park.

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