Foreign Language for Beginners - Irina Gheorghe

Foreign Language for Beginners is part of a long term project in which the history of attempted communication with a hypothetical extraterrestrial intelligence informs performative situations, drawings, photographs and installations. Starting from the idea of an abstract, universal language which might enable such an exchange, the performance which gives the project its title explores the dynamics and history of a potential first contact through text, sound and movement. The starting point are messages sent into outer space throughout human history in the hope of establishing an extra-planetary connection, recontextualised and brought to the everyday environment of the meeting between the performer and her audience. Progressively, the mode of address, the language and the situation become increasingly uncanny.

Irina Gheorghe works primarily with performance, in combination with installation, collage, photography or sound, to address the tensions inherent in the attempts to speak about things beyond our possibilities of observation, from extraterrestrial life to hypothetical planets. Irina also works as part of the artist duo The Bureau of Melodramatic Research, co-founded in 2009 together with Alina Popa (1982-2019), to investigate how passions shape contemporary society. Since January 2019 she is part of the Psychedelic Choir, a Berlin based group of performers who work with vocal improvisation. Her work was shown at NCAD Gallery Dublin, National Museum of Contemporary Art Bucharest, Künstlerhaus Bremen, Ivan Gallery Bucharest, Suprainfinit Gallery Bucharest, Salonul de Proiecte Bucharest, Grazer Kunstverein, Project Arts Centre Dublin, Swimming Pool Sofia, Changing Room Berlin, Centre for Contemporary Art Derry, Glasgow International, TRAFO Budapest, Pratt Manhattan Gallery New York, Times Museum Guangzhou, HOME Manchester, Contemporary Art Centre Vilnius, BAK Utrecht, DEPO Istanbul și Galeria Posibila, Bucharest, among others.
Cover image:
Irina Gheorghe, Scores for First Contact, screen print, 2018
The performance is part of NEW TEMPOREALITIES: The Xenogeneses of SF, an itinerant project in Timișoara at the INDECIS space.

The exhibition was produced in 2021 by the Ephemair Association, together with Fundația9 and presented at Rezidența9 in Bucharest with financial support from BRD-Groupe Société Générale, AFCN – Administration of the National Cultural Fund and Goethe-Institut Bucharest.

In Timișoara this project continues in partnership with Foc & Pară Association, of the INDECIS collective and is part of the Cultural Program "Timișoara 2023 - European Capital of Culture" financed by the Municipality of Timișoara through the Project Center, co-financed by BRD-Groupe Société Générale, Fundația9 and the Ephemair and Indecis Association.
Partner: The National History Museum of Transylvania.

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