Arcadia University Presents ‘The Black Tongue Lexicon’ by Gary Setzer, Feb. 24

By Purnell T. Cropper | February 21, 2014

Arcadia University’s Art Research Collaboration (ARC) Exhibition Program is pleased to announce a one-night engagement of a new performance work, The Black Tongue Lexicon, by visual artist Gary Setzer. The performance is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Commons Art Gallery, and is free and open to the public.

In The Black Tongue Lexicon, Setzer’s pre-recorded, process-oriented actions, filmed in a variety of landscapes, are projected behind him as he performs live electronic music and vocals. Through what the Huffington Postcalled a “phenomenal hybrid of his own,” the artist discusses the tenuous relationship between language and the physical world.

Through Setzer’s performance, language and the physical landscape are revealed as existing in truly parallel spaces—though they certainly co-exist and have the capacity to affect each other, they can never truly interact. This theme of parallel structure is expressed repeatedly within the performance as the audience encounters language in both its written and verbal forms, as well as the artist’s activities, which are both live and pre-recorded.

The overall result is what Setzer refers to as a “nerdy audiovisual spectacle that recalls Laurie Anderson, Marina Abramović, and Joseph Beuys as much as it does 1980’s art rockers, Devo.”

The 45-minute performance will take place in one of the University’s newly created exhibition spaces, located on the first floor of the University Commons building. An informal Q & A session will follow and light refreshments will be provided.

Setzer is a Tuscon-based artist and an associate professor of art at The University of Arizona. His previous performance work, Supralingual/Sublingual: The Tongue Is the Terrain, toured extensively throughout the United States, and included performances at The Tank, New York, N.Y.; Fountain Studios, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Mess Hall, Chicago, Ill.; Little Berlin Gallery, Philadelphia; Future Tenant, Pittsburgh, Pa.; Plus Gallery, Denver, Co.; Martine Chaisson Gallery, New Orleans, La.; and Co-Lab Project Space, Austin, Texas. The performance was released as a full-length album on the independent label Pretend Records in 2012. More information about his work can be found at

This performance is made possible by a donation to the Gateway Society by Theresa and John Rollins.