Fall 2010

Artist Project / Ambidextrous Performance

Written by the body

Lars Siltberg

Swedish artist Lars Siltberg is right-handed. Or at least he was until he set out to learn how to write with all four limbs at the same time. Siltberg’s model for this quest was the 1920s American performer Harry Kahne, the “Man with the Multiple Mind,” whose acts included simultaneously writing different words on a blackboard with all four limbs and his mouth. Practicing every day for two months on a chair positioned in front of a mammoth blackboard, Siltberg eventually taught his four limbs to write independently of each other, though he was surprised to discover that over the course of each session, what his limbs wrote was increasingly beyond his conscious control. Instead of producing recognizable words, his hands and feet inscribed sequences of letters that broke into language only intermittently, like some novice telegraph operator broadcasting in faulty Morse code: “ROGY….WEST… HILM…. BRAUS...”

Lars Siltberg is a Stockholm-based artist. His video installations have been shown at the Venice Biennial (2001), at Miro Foundation, Barcelona (2004), and at STUK, Leuven (2009). A new film will be released in winter 2010. For more information, see alterhuman.com [link defunct—Eds.].

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