Serpentine Galleries presented an evening at Kings Place with Eileen Myles on the occasion of the publication of Myles’s latest book, Afterglow (A Dog Memoir). Throughout the evening, Myles, who reads from Afterglow, is joined by artist and filmmaker Ruth Novaczek and writer and editor Filipa Ramos to discuss animals, companionship and loss. Afterglow, Myles’s first foray into memoir, paints a kaleidoscopic portrait of a beloved confidant: the pit bull called Rosie.
In 1990, Myles chose Rosie from a litter on the street, and their connection instantly became central to the writer’s life and work. The evening begins with the diffusion version of sound artist Mira Calix‘s 2003 piece Nunu, originally composed for orchestra and insects.
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During the course of their 16 years together,Myles was madly devoted to the dog’s wellbeing, especially in her final days. Starting from the emptiness following Rosie’s death, Afterglow launches a heartfelt and fabulist investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner. Through this lens, we witness Myles’s experiences with intimacy and spirituality, celebrity and politics, alcoholism and recovery, fathers and family history, gender, romance, memory, as well as the fantastical myths we invent to get to the heart of grief.
Eileen Myles is the author of more than 20 books, including Chelsea Girls, Cool For You, and most recently, I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems 1975-2014. Their many honours include a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, four Lambda Literary Awards, the Clark Prize for Excellence in Art Writing, the Shelley Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America, Creative Capital’s Literature Award as well as an Andy Warhol Foundation Art Writers’ Grant, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant. They live in Marfa, TX, and New York City. Their poems were featured in seasons 2 and 3 of the Emmy-winning show Transparent.
Mira Calix is an award-winning artist and composer based in the United Kingdom. Music and sound, which she considers a sculptural material, are at the centre of her practice. Her work explores the manipulation of the material into visible, physical forms through multi-disciplinary installations, sculpture, video and performance works. Calix has been commissioned by and exhibited or performed works in many leading international cultural institutions, festivals and ensembles including the Carriageworks, MONA, Performa, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Barbican, Art Basel, Lincoln Center, Manchester International festival and the London Olympics amongst others. At the Serpentine, Calix performed in Tarek Atoui’s performance La Suite.
Calix’s Nunu, originally commissioned by Geneva’s Natural History Museum and which premièred at The Ether Festival in 2003, was performed by the London Sinfonietta and a tank of amplified insects, including cicadas, cockroaches, crickets and beetles. In the piece, the roles are reversed: while the insects keep the rhythm and harmonics, the orchestra attempts to approximate the sounds of insects. At Kings Place, Calix performs the diffusion version of Nunu, composed for surround sound and presented on a quadrophonic system.
Ruth Novaczek has made some 35 films and installations since graduating from St Martins School of Art, London, in 1986. Her work has been shown at galleries and venues including Berlin Arsenal, LUX London, New York Kunsthalle, Tate Britain, Stuttgart Kunsthalle, Toyota Museum, Japan and in film festivals including Viper Switzerland, Mix NYC, the London Film Festival and Oberhausen. Awards and grants include Arts Council Large Award and a Completion Grant from the Sarah Noble Memorial Fund. During residencies at Braziers International Artists workshop (1996), Kunsthalle NY (2001), Dartington Hall UK (2002) and Mishkan Haomanim, Herzliya (2008), Novaczek created some of her most widely acclaimed multi-screen video installations.
Lisbon-born Filipa Ramos is a writer and editor based in London, where she works as Editor in Chief of art-agenda. She is a Lecturer in the Experimental Film MA programme of Kingston University and in the MRes Art:Moving Image of Central Saint Martins, both in London, and works with the Master Programme of the Institut Kunst, Basel. Ramos is co-curator of Vdrome, a programme of screenings of films by visual artists and filmmakers. She was Associate Editor of Manifesta Journal and contributed to Documenta 13 (2012) and 14 (2017). She recently edited Animals (Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Press).