Myriam Van Imschoot

Christ on the Mount of Olives, Detail – Vyssí Brod Alterpiece
Project collaboration


Lives and works in Brussels.

Myriam Van Imschoot makes performances, creates sound poetry and vocal pieces, exhibits video and sound installations. She holds a unique position in the Belgian art field, moving between institutional fields and media, with a keen interest to experiment with contexts when not creating her own.

As an artist she first started working with archives as her medium. The duet Pick up Voices (2007) with Christine De Smedt and the sound installation Black Box (2009) show an interest in the performative potential of archival documents and the construction of alternative historiographies through them. Her solo Living Archive (2011) was a personal testimony of what could be any ‘girl living next-door with a passion for mixed tapes’. Acclaimed for its originality, it was shown in Kaaitheater, Vooruit and Kunstencentrum Buda, among others.

Fascinated by phenomena of long-distance communication, Van Imschoot embarked on a cycle of works that deal with yodelling, crying, waving and bird calls. Hola Hu (2013) and Kucku (2014) are deconstructive yodel duets that reframe folklore as it gets transmitted and altered. With an ensemble of women she has been creating performances on the basis of a trill that is occurring in different parts of Africa and the Middle East. YOUYOUYOU (2015), a stunning whirlwind that is composed as one prolonged ‘collective’ cry in crescendo’, became a seminal piece that she created with local performers in Brussels, Jaffa and Grenoble. In HELfel (2016) 28 performers engage with their trills the acoustics of a park.

Van Imschoot creates site-specific work for public spaces, urban or rural, like mountain ranges, railway station areas, parks, roof tops and public squares. She received commissions of International Sculptural Rotterdam, ZUS architects, Binaural Sound arts Center, Téléphérique, etc. With Toine Horvers she created the vocal performances Vozes de Magaio (2011) for the mountainous region in North Portugal and Singelstemmen (2012) for the urban space in Rotterdam.

In 2017 and 2018 she worked with collaborators on participatory theater or performance pieces inspired by practices that hold a certain democratic potential. The universe of the choir was the direct source of inspiration for IN KOOR! (2017), a musical theater with 25 laymen-choir singers (codirected with Willem De Wolf, produced by Campo and Cie. De Koe). The routines of a swimming pool, led to SPLASH!, a piece co-directed with choreographer Christine Desmedt, custom-made for the swimming pool with 55 local participants, with the support of the City of Kortrijk and Kunstencentrum Buda. In parallel to her performance work she directed eight films, Le Cadeau (2018) being the last film in a series on vocalists (48′, distribution Argos). The film is touring festivals and galleries.

With What Nature Says (2015) she made her first vocal performance for six performers who, by means of their voice and body alone imitate their ‘natural surroundings’. Bird calls but also chain saws play a considerable role. In this ‘eco-fair’ tale that draws from field recordings Van Imschoot further pursues her desire to stage ‘forms’ that speak of the attempt by humans and animals alike to communicate with a sense of urgency and impossibility.

Currently, she is exploring ‘new polyphonies’ and their social and political implications. Besides the performance newpolyphonies with HYOID (2020), this involves in 2021 the community-based sound poetry project with Marcus Bergner (Le Brass), the publication residence with Cairography Collective in Kunsthal Gent and a version that remixes newpolyphonies in an autonomous installation with an orchestra of 20 small speakers.

Myriam is regularly invited to teach voice workshops or workshops on sound poetry with Marcus Bergner.

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