80 Words is a project about what happens to a language when there are only 80 words to speak it. What happens to the imagination when communication is reduced to the minimum? Are words still a reliable currency, now that “freedom of speech” suffers from heavy inflation? Can (self)censorship be a good thing?
It’s a time of clipping; it is a time of skipping; it is a time of cutting.
Imagine being in a room that looks like an undeveloped photograph - a dark lab, where your senses are heavily deprived. An isolated researcher guides you through a slide show. You are introduced to her singular subject, A. Words and gestures are stripped to the bone; your imagination is gently encouraged to combine phantom phrases with after-images, leaving you no choice but to make highly subjective conclusions.
80 Words is still being performed and has been presented by FKAWdW (Witte de With) in Rotterdam, Veem House in Amsterdam (curated by Fleur van Muiswinkel for Composing Through Words), Onomatopee Eindhoven, Mad House Helsinki (FI) a.o.
Concept, text, performance:
Sarah van Lamsweerde
Research and performance partner:
Graphic design slides & booklet:
Scenography and video set-up:
Marloeke van der Vlugt
Production / Publisher:
Het Veem Theater
In preparation for this project, I spent a number of weeks doing online and field research, collecting stories and preparing for a first showing of '80 Words' at Het Veem Theater in 2011. The research presentation took the form of an exposé slash slideshow, a personal recount of my fascination for language, in which several lists of 80 words and gestures were tested out. These lists have been compiled in a booklet, made together with graphic designer Céline Wouters, printed in a limited edition of 80 copies.