I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (On Circles)

Coda Press


I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer is a body of work that has grown as a collective effort. Following the origin of the word concert – to contest, question, dispute (with) as well as agreement in action. IwtIcwlabd has been shaped by public workshops and through improvisation sessions with the group of bass players and the performers chopping wood.

IwtIcwlabd is a series that Freja Bäckman has been working with since 2015 and which has taken different shapes, from collective wood chopping actions and one on one sessions to a concert, as a performance/installation, a video/sound installation and now this vinyl record. The text on the record cites both sentences and form from Gertrude Stein's A Circular Play (1920), as well as the off-Broadway musical version In Circles (1967). The piece “steals” as a form of appreciation from a number of sources. The text is by Freja Bäckman, and the original score by Manuela Schininá.

I was told I chop wood like a ballet dancer (On Circles) by Freja Bäckman
Voice: Elena Schmidt?
Recording, sound design and B side original score: Manuela Schininá?
On bass: Cash Hauke, Freja Bäckman, Mitchelle Betancourt, Verónica Mota, Wassan Ali
?Chopping wood: Hanna Maria Bergfors, Henna Räsänen, Winnie Olbrich
?Sound technician (live performance): Lola Tseytlin / Sound Systers
The live recordings were made at District in Berlin in April 2018 in curatorial collaboration with Suza Husse as part of Freja Bäckman's IwtIcwlabd series.
Cover Design: Ebba Fransén Waldhör
Published by Scott Elliott / Coda Press, 2020

Freja Bäckman works as a multidisciplinary artist, educator and researcher. Their practice is concerned with collective formations, informed by queer and intersectional feminism. Through analysis of power and knowledge sharing they work with performance, sound, text, and installation. Previously a visiting scholar at Parsons New School New York in 2020, they’re currently residing as an artist-in-residence at HIAP in Helsinki. They live in Berlin and Helsinki.

Photo credit: Sheung Yiu (2,3) / Antti-Jussi Rantala (1)

Year: 2020
Author: Freja Bäckman
Editor: Scott Elliott

Vinyl LP,
Printed at Deepgrooves
Designed by: Ebba Fransén Waldhör - Recording, sound design and B side original score: Manuela Schininá. Voice: Elena Schmidt.

Supported by: Bergen Kommune

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