WhyNot Festival and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam proudly present DRIFT, a new multilingual performance by Jennifer Tee. DRIFT takes inspiration from eco-poetics, a genre in which poets respond to the growing climate crisis through their use of language, mimicking ecological processes such as recycling and looping. In collaboration with poet Jane Lewty, Tee compiled a collection of poetry and novels—titled the "Eco-Poetics Stack of Books"—that focus on the vulnerable relationship between nature and culture, language and perception, beauty and destruction. Lewty assembled these publications into a new collage of poem-texts, read aloud by performers of diverse languages and nationalities, choreographed with the assistance of WhyNot Festival director Marjolein Vogels. Set against a backdrop designed by Tee, DRIFT explores how language plays into questions of land rights, nationality, belonging, and ecology.
Language is a system through which we discover and identify ourselves, both as individuals and collectively as a society, and has long taken a central role in Tee’s practice. Whether writing systems such as alphabets or pictographic characters, or as bodily movement or “body language,” communication in its many forms is of prime interest to Tee, and reflected in her visual art and choreographic practices, respectively. Further, while we experience political discourse through language, language also bears a politics itself: in a time of increasing globalization, the loss of land and language to colonization often go hand and hand, and mark a troubling march toward cultural homogenization. Tee proposes that a new poetic language is needed to discuss the intersectional relationship between the climate crisis and its increased impact on marginalized communities.
About Jennifer Tee:
Jennifer Tee works across sculpture, installation, performance, and collages. Her work is the exploration of a continuous dialogue between material experimentation and philosophical contemplation. Often working with charged cultural artifacts and symbols, she opens dialogues between instilled esoteric ideas and the materiality of objects she engages, evoking the cultural landscapes of Western art history and Eastern philosophy.
Tee pairs her diverse points of inspiration to form new dialogues and encounters, bringing together disparate formal and conceptual references such as Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky, and Taoist magic. Embracing their duality, the works hover between their material and their laden meaning. Tee has exhibited in exhibitions and biennials throughout the world, most recently participating in the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018) and the 16th Istanbul Biennial (2019).
artist Jennifer Tee | choreopgraphy Marjolein Vogels | performers Miri Lee, Ayhan Karaağaç, Christian Guerematchi, Lív Smáradóttir, Aika Goto, Björk Níelsdóttir
collages for DRIF, a performance by Jennifer Tee with plant material from Sonsbeek Park, Arnhem. Courtesy of Galerie Fons Welters and the artist