Irena Tomažin

Dancer, choreographer, performer, actress, philosopher and vocalist Irena Tomažin made her first appearance in the area of music with the group Kapricjoke, which also appeared in the Concert Marathon organised by Radio Student. However, her most noteworthy debut presentation in the field of sound was made with the solo recital iT for voice and voice recorders, in which Tomažin ingeniously weaves the story through the primary human instrument – the voice. Hers is not a trained voice based on clear articulation and technical brilliance. Quite the contrary, its power of expression draws precisely from the failure of articulation, from its incessant attempts to constitute itself, with which it often drifts away from the field of meaning and enters the field of sound. We are dealing thus with a fragile voice, a voice in search of itself, which nevertheless has a profuse emotional and expressive potential. At the same time, it is also an alienated voice, which is – since it is recorded on dictaphones – becoming an acousmatic object, alienated from corporeality, but which is re-entering the semantically structured storyline through repetitions of sound loops and tape manipulation. Voice, a fundamental corporeal experience, is traversed by countless voices, multiplying, dissolving and confronting their own semantic and sound resonances in space. To dramaturgically round off her (sound) narration, Irena Tomažin artfully, sometimes movingly, and sometimes playfully, employs different means: from adopting and breaking tunes from the sphere of popular music, to theatrical storytelling, to playing with the words’ syllables and their rhythms, dismantling the words in the style of literary modernisms and avant-gardisms of the previous century, or reducing the voice to panting, smacking, sighing. However, in so doing, she is still allowing multiple voices to speak at the same time, in harmonies and cacophonies. Although her creativity can be compared to certain more visible contemporaries (such as Meredith Monk, for example), Tomažin’s performance is unique in its childlike playfulness, which is occasionally also capable of sparkly self-reflection. Although her performance ever-so-slightly implied a rather schizophrenic story of submission, which addressed the audience through multiple voices simultaneously, these voices nevertheless incessantly communicated in the in-between space of the word and condensed meaning. Recently, appearing as iT, Tomažin’s voice is dissolving from a structured and distorted one, from veiled polyphony, to a naked voice, which is ultimately left almost voiceless, residually remaining in the body, where the possibilities and the impossibility of its articulation are taken over by gesture, movement. As iT, Irena Tomažin as a matter of fact thinks voice through heterogeneous trains of thought, which intensely, via an extremely personal experience, traverse one another. This discloses her experience as a philosopher who confronts her thought with other thinkers of the voice, such as, for example, Mladen Dolar or Jacques Derrida, or literature, such as the literary thought of Samuel Beckett, or the thinking of Antonin Artaud on contemporary theatre, or the melodies of most diverse traditions. As iT, Irena Tomažin performs at home and abroad, as well as in important international festivals such as Club 5 in Vienna, Dispatch in Belgrade, Densités in France and Ultrahang in Budapest. In recent years, she has also lent her voice to free improvised music, collaborating with numerous home and foreign makers. These include the bassist Tomaž Grom, the multitalented musician Andrej Fon, the saxophonist Marko Karlovčec, and others. With the latter, she also released the record “That Which Happens Is Itself Dripping Red”. Internationally, she collaborates with the American brass musician Liz Allbee, the Japanese percussionist Seijiro Murayama, and others. As a dancer and performer, Tomažin has collaborated with numerous makers – to mention only a few: Dragan Živadinov, Maja Delak, Hanna Preuss, Mala Kline, Janez Janša, the Polish Maisternia Pisni and Josephine Evrar. She is also the recipient of the Golden Bird Award for her independent work. At present, Tomažin is preparing her first solo album IT, with Aldo Ivančič, with whom she already collaborated in the collective Bast and on the album Retinal Circus. The album will be released by the label RX:TX and will finally bring us a sound document of one of the most unique artists in the area of voice in our space.

Luka Zagoričnik




Irena Tomažin is a dancer and performer as well as a postgraduate philosophy student. She began to dance in high school, at which time she also worked five years with the IHT theatre group with Tomaž Štrucl. She acquired most of her dancing experience with the Intact dance studio, the Ljubljana Dance Theatre and the educational programs Laboratory, Agon and Emanat, as well as taking part in numerous workshops in Slovenia and abroad, being part of a DanceWeb in 2004 and the Atelier/Grotowsky Institute in 2007. She has performed in various dance and theatre productions (with Bara Kolenc, Dušan Teropšič, Mala Kline, Maja Delak, Kayo Mikami, Dragan Živadinov, Emil Hrvatin, Barbara Novakovič, Silvan Omerzu, Magdalena Reiter, Sebastian Horvat, Hanna Preuss, Eric Dean Scott, Josephine Evrard, Sergej Kovalevich and others), making her solo dance debut “Hitchcock’s Metamorphoses” with composer Reichenberg in 2001 and her second solo “Caprice” in 2005. After “Caprice”, she started to work mostly on voice, but more in the field of theater than that of music. In 2006, she made a rework entitled “Caprice (Re)lapsed” for the City of Women festival. In 2008 followed “like a rain drop into the mouth of silence”, a duo with Primož Bezjak, and, in 2010, “out of discord” with Josephine Evrard, produced by Maska. Since 2006, she has been doing a solo voice experimental project entitled “iT”, which she has performed in Slovenia as well as abroad. In 2011, she made a CD entitled Crying Games, produced by Atol, with Aldo Ivančič, with whom she had already been collaborating in Bast Collective and on the CD Retinal Circus. Working with voice in the music field, she has collaborated with Tomaž Grom, Neža Naglič, Marko Karlovčec, Seijiro Murajama, Liz Allbee, Noid, Klaus Filip, Christof Kurzmann and others. She also regularly gives voice workshops in Ljubljana as well as abroad.

Artist Info:


Irena Tomažin
photo: Mina Fina

Irena Tomažin, 2009, time: 01:00:43

Irena Tomažin, 2010, time: 01:42:22


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