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Jennifer Scappettone

first performed on December 9, 2016
Betalevel, Los Angeles, CA
performed once in 2016


San Francisco, CA / Oakland, CA


We went to Los Angeles to give talks on archival research each of us had done over the summer, Jocelyn in Geneva, Stephanie in San Francisco. We populated our presentations with images from the archives—with diagrams, shadows, and dust.

Jocelyn’s talk was titled “An Elsewhere of Survivals: Inscriptions and Echoes: Listening with Saussure and Lucretius.” It is about how we read and think with the dead. How we attend to transmissions and attune our attention to what is almost inaudible. About how we lend our voices, animate an inscription that re-members the remains of a voice, perching in letters. So it’s about sound. About the sound between words, the echoes. It’s about listening and working in the archives of Ferdinand de Saussure, his notebooks on anagrams—the resonances of sounds he perceived in ancient poetry as he walked among Roman tombstones. He heard an echo reverberating through time. So I went to Geneva to listen for myself.

Stephanie’s talk was about 1970s feminisms, about a bookstore that used to exist in my neighborhood, a collective of lesbian feminists. Their project came apart in the early 80s. It came apart in court, in financial documents, in divisions of every kind: race, class, sexuality, age. I went to the GLBT archive to understand the story of that fight. My talk was about the questions I left with and why those questions still matter.

In the long version of this story, Stephanie accidentally eats some chocolate with weed in it only hours before the talks are scheduled to begin. She is unable to enter the space or remember the password to her computer, although she is able to type it when a friend carries the computer upstairs. In this story, she stays in the alley in Chinatown. It sounds like a noise show outside. Jocelyn holds Stephanie’s shoulders and repeats: “THIS WILL END—I PROMISE—IT WILL NOT LAST—THIS WILL END.” Inside Betalevel’s basement space, Jocelyn gives her talk and then, after the intermission, Stephanie is never going to be able to deliver her talk, so Jocelyn does so on her behalf—our unanticipated collaboration.

The next day we went to Olympic Spa.