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Slought

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07/01/2022

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Sara Nadal-Melsió is the Slought Foundation's 2022-2023 Writer-in-Residence. Nadal-Melsió is a NYC-based Catalan writer, curator, and teacher. She has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, SOMA in Mexico City, and New York University. Her essays have appeared in various academic journals, edited volumes, and museum catalogs. She is the co-author of Alrededor de / Around, and the editor of two special issues on cinema, The Invisible Tradition: Avant-Garde Catalan Cinema under Late Francoism and The Militant Image: Temporal Disturbances of the Political Imagination. She has cocurated an exhibition on Allora & Calzadilla for the Fundació Tápies in Barcelona and has written a book essay about it, as well as edited a companion volume on the Puerto Rican crisis entitled A Modest Proposal: Puerto Rico's Crucible. She will be in residence for the 2022-2023 academic year completing a book-length manuscript entitled Europe and the Wolf: Political Variations on a Musical Concept, under contract with Zone Books.

Europe and the Wolf: Political Variations on a Musical Concept begins by recuperating a Baroque musical concept that acquires a renewed meaning amidst contemporary aesthetic practices that respond to the histories, violence, and promises contained in Europe, understood as the name for an ongoing conceptual and political problem. The "wolf" is the name Baroque tuners gave to the dissonant and resilient sound produced in any attempt to temper and harmonize an instrument, the greatest challenge to the dream of complete harmonization. The first mention of the "wolf" as an emblem of disharmony, however, predates tuning efforts against dissonant notes and comes from the Latin proverb "homo homine lupus est" or "man is a wolf to man," an endlessly appropriated and translated phrase that traces the pervasive fear, and even hate, for what is foreign or unknown, for what marks the borders of a community. The book examines the ruination of Europe as an idea and traces its re-assemblage through a collaborative and performative reactivation of its musical heritage in the work of the late Catalan artist and composer Carles Santos, the experimental filmmaker Pere Portabella, the Albanian artist Anri Sala, and Allora & Calzadilla. The "wolf," then, names a problem within the logic of community when that community is understood as the product of a social harmony predicated on the violence of exclusion and the expropriation of rights.

Peter Zilahy is the Slought Foundation's 2022-2023 Writer-in-Residence. He has written five books and works in all genres including plays, essays, and opinion pieces for The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. His award-winning novel, The Last Window Giraffe, has been translated into 22 languages, and a new American paperback edition is forthcoming next spring from Sandorf Passage independent publishers. Besides his literary and scholarly work, Zilahy is a versatile artist who has performed on stage for large audiences from New York's Broadway to Kyiv, where the The Last Window Giraffe won The Book of the Year Prize of Ukraine. He has lectured at, among other places, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, New York University, George Washington University, The New School, Boston University, Tufts University, Melbourne University, and Sciences Po in Paris. He has held numerous prestigious residencies all over Europe, including at the Akademie Solitude (selected by Herta Müller, Nobel laureate) and the Albert Einstein Fellowship in Potsdam, and he held the position of Stadtschreiber of the city of Graz for a year. He has been a Visiting Scholar at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, a Writer in Residence at Tufts University in Cambridge, and a fellow at the Kluge Center of the Library of Congress in Washington. In 2015, he was interviewed by Anthony Bourdain in Budapest for an episode of CNN's Parts Unknown. On January 15, 2017 he gave a speech and read a poem on the steps of the New York Public Library in front of three thousand people at Writers Resist as part of a collective effort to defend free expression during the Trump era.

He will be in residence for the 2022-2023 academic year completing his modern-day Odyssey, which includes an extensive use of visual materials, from concrete to fictional maps. He has been researching and writing his novel for several years now, including research at the Library of Congress and at the New York Public Library. The plot takes place in a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It starts with the lucky escape of the protagonist from a European dictatorship during the Cold War and follows his journey around the world through a kaleidoscope of identities he takes up in his quest for a new home, finally culminating in his return to his home country to take part in a revolution to end the rule of the dictator.