Project Series 44: The Bureau of Experimental Speech and Holy Theses

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© Courtesy of Pomona College Museum of Art
Project Series 44: The Bureau of Experimental Speech and Holy Theses

330 N. College Ave. (at the corner of College and Bonita)
Claremont, CA 91711
November 1st, 2012 - December 16th, 2012
Opening: November 1st, 2012 5:00 PM - 11:00 PM

san gabriel valley
(909) 621-8283
Tues-Fri 12-5; Sat-Sun 1-5; Thursdays Art After Hours 5-11 p.m. while exhibitions are open


“Project Series 44” consists of artist Adam Overton’s newest consortium, The Bureau of Experimental Speech and Holy Theses (BESHT). An experiment in public address, BESHT explores the commingling of speech, authority, and performance. Visitors will witness the artists, writers, performers, and designers of BESHT delighting in various forms of rhetorical play, ranging from dictation to meditation to proclamation. The exhibition and related projects feature a series of weekly events that temporarily convert the Pomona College Museum of Art’s project space into an experimental public speaking hall. During the rest of the week, BESHT is serving as a reading room and Free Speech Auditorium with an occasional Diction-for-Dollars Open-Mic for adventurous students, faculty, and visitors. All BESHT proceedings will be broadcast online, and a weekly newspaper publication, conceptualized with and designed by Tanya Rubbak, will accompany the exhibition.

“Project Series 44” complements the exhibition “John Cage: Zen Ox-Herding Pictures” in its unique focus on collaborative practices and experimental strategies. John Cage was well-known for performing his lectures, many of which were composed using chance procedures. The project is also working closely with several departments on campus, including the Pomona College Art Department and Pitzer College’s Intercollegiate Media Studies.


About the Free Speech Auditorium and the Diction-for-Dollars Open-Mic…

The BESHT Free Speech Auditorium will be available for the Claremont Community to use throughout regular gallery hours (Tuesday through Sunday, 12–5 p.m.) starting November 1st. We invite students, professors, classes, clubs, student groups, and gallery visitors to use the space during this time for all their public speaking needs: lectures, artist talks, class presentations, soliloquies, poetry readings, debates, rants, he-said/she-saids, and more. All proceedings within the museum’s project space will be broadcast live via the Pomona Museum website for the duration of BESHT. If any party is interested in reserving the space, please contact us at, otherwise use of the space is first come, first served.

As an additional component, Art After Hours at the Museum (Thursdays, 5-11 p.m.) will institute an experimental Diction-for-Dollars Open-Mic shortly before and after the evening’s official BESHT proceedings. During this Open-Mic, students, faculty, and others will have the opportunity to earn $1-per-minute if they dare to stand up and be heard!



"We Connect John with Julius"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

5:00 PM:  Diction-for-Dollars Open-Mic!

8:00 PM:  We Connect John with Julius: A brief lecture by Adam Overton 

8:30 PM:  G. Douglas Barrett presents a re-interpretation of Julius Eastman’s 1975 performance of John Cage’s Song Books

10:00 PM:  Diction-for-Dollars Open-Mic!

Artist, performer, and composer Adam Overton will mark the launch of the Bureau of Experimental Speech and Holy Theses (BESHT) with a brief, playful lecture in the spirit of John Cage, whose exhibition of paintings will be on display in an adjacent gallery of the museum. The lecture will locate BESHTs mission within and beyond the work of John Cage, whose career was bookended by two remarkable lectures – one that a confident, 15-year-old Cage delivered at the Hollywood Bowl in 1927, and another that Julius Eastman delivered in 1975 while interpreting Cage’s Song Books, which infuriated the elder composer.

G. Douglas Barrett will present a re-interpretation of Julius Eastman’s June 1975 performance of John Cage’s Song Books. Performing as part of the SEM Ensemble at the University of Buffalo, Eastman used Cage’s indeterminate work as a platform for delivering a lecture on “a new system of love” that infuriated the elder Cage, and arguably marked a post-Cageian shift in the performance of experimental, indeterminate music.

G. Douglas Barrett’s work considers music as part of a critical arts practice in which performance and conceptuality figure as integral components. Drawing equally from the contemporary gallery arts and the performing arts traditions, Barrett has exhibited, performed, and published throughout North America and Europe: Incubator Arts Project (New York), Diapason Gallery (New York), the Wulf (Los Angeles), Theater Perdu (Amsterdam), Universität der Künste Berlin, Université de Paris-Est Marne-La-Vallée, Phoebe Zeitgst Teatro (Milan), Galerie Mark Müller (Zürich), Sonic Arts Research Centre (Belfast, UK) and Neutral Ground (Canada); his writing is published in the interdisciplinary literary journal Mosaic (U of Manitoba) and Contemporary Music Review. In 2009 Barrett received a DAAD research grant to Berlin, and he is the recipient of a 2012-13 Franklin Furnace Fund award for his project TWO TRANSCRIPTIONS/ODE TO SCHOENBERG. He has obtained advanced degrees from California Institute of the Arts (MFA) and the State University of New York at Buffalo (Ph.D.).

Adam Overton is an experimental artist living in Los Angeles who works between performance, writing, experimental music, massage, workshops, event-production and various participatory forms, all in order to facilitate odd and intimate artist-led experiences. He connects regularly with a variety of artist-peers via several collaborative platforms, including Signify, Sanctify, Believe (with Tanya Rubbak and Claire Cronin, and involving the contributions of over 70 semi-secular artists), The Eternal Telethon, and He works closely with Guru Rugu as co-director of the experimental meditation center of los angeles and as a ghostwriter for Guru Rugu’s Experimental Meditation Hour on KCHUNG Radio.