Cally Spooner - “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage”
11 Apr 2013

Cropped image, created by the artist.
Cropped image, created by the artist.

Location: SMBC Hall (stair case in historical building), Stedelijk Museum
Language: English
Entrance: Entrance price to the museum + additional charge E. 2,50
Reservations: It is necessary to make a reservation. Send an e-mail to, stating your full name, e-mail address, telephone number, and the date of the program you want to attend.

The Stedelijk Museum is very proud to present a new production by London-based artist Cally Spooner, commissioned specifically for the grand staircase in the historical museum building. Featuring musical arrangements and composition by Peter Joslyn, “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” takes the form of a peripatetic musical that will evolve as it moves between institutions.

The first installment of Spooner’s production, at the Stedelijk, presents a chorus line of six voices that gossip about current affairs: fallen heroes, unfulfilled promises, and instances of automation parading as ”liveness” in politics, pop music, and sport. The chorus line in “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” is a mechanism of disembodied voices, in a musical without narrative or progressive action, relocated from the margins of the musical form to take on the lead role. They deliver a disjointed collection of familiar phrasings, restaged by new bodies whose movement becomes burdened and made strange by the introduction of calculated jargon. Appropriated strategy perforates the exchanges of the chorus line with instructions on how to successfully harness and deliver stories for economic gain.

As cognitive activity is increasingly synced up to networked productivity, and language tied up in economic interests, the boundaries of personal expression and the regurgitation of market agendas have never been less legible. “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” stages how spectacle inhabits language as it moves from the screen and stage into the thick of lived experience, where it deadens the drive for difference and performs a making-technical of life.

The chorus becomes increasingly inscribed by the unyielding metabolism of “high performance” ad speak. It begins to present sameness, repetition, and mechanization – ultimately transforming into an apparatus that performs with a discipline that no longer accounts for spontaneity, but still attempts to project its likeness. Both in its earliest stages and as it continues, “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” seeks to open an alternative space for testing the potential of writing and speaking in this climate.

“And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” is co-curated by Hendrik Folkerts and Annie Godfrey Larmon.

The next phase of “And You Were Wonderful, On Stage” will move to KW Institute, Berlin, in July 2013,  as part of The Bet - an investigation into doubt, contingency and meaning in economy and society.

More information about the artist

Cally Spooner works and lives in London. Using theory and philosophers as alibis to help her write, and casts of arguing characters to help her perform, she produces plotless novellas, disjunctive theatre plays, looping monologues, and musical arrangements to write, then stage, the movement and behavior of speech. Recently, she has been exploring how high performance economies have affected speaking and writing as a live, undetermined event. Her work includes writing, film, live performance, and broadcasting. Recent solo presentations, all in 2012, include “Seven Thirty Till Nine,” Shanaynay, Paris; “Collapsing in Parts,” International Project Space, Birmingham; “It’s 1957 and the Press Release Still Isn’t Written,” Hermes und der Pfau, Stuttgart. Recent group exhibitions include “A Spoken Word Exhibition”, Jeu de paume, Paris (2013),  “I Proclaim You Proclaim We Proclaim”, Stroom, The Hague (2012) and “Les Ateliers de Rennes”, Biennale D’art Contemporain, Rennes (2012). For more information, visit