The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Chris Mann: things i’d like to have said

7pm Doors / 7:30pm Performance
Purchase copies of "The Use" 

"Chris Mann is really a composer of extreme rhythmic complexities that have deeper meaning than words can ever deliver." —Alvin Lucier

Chris Mann is an Australian poet, writer, performer and improviser specialized in the emerging field of compositional linguistics, which the artist describes as "the mechanism whereby you understand what I'm thinking better than I do.” Mann's works for voice are based on complex texts, freely composed to allow a play of wit and humor. He explores the textures and gestures of speech, with its rhythms and qualities of color, pitch, intonation and emphasis.  Mann's unique style of reading these incredibly dense, parenthetical texts at a high speed has brought him recognition as a unique performer and recording artist. 

At The Lab, Mann performs a piece titled “things i’d like to have said.” 

Also launching at The Lab is Mann’s new book, titled “the use,” which is a printed expansion of his web project Accompanying the book is a newly published special edition of postcard sets that celebrate the artist's inspiring work and ideas. The set includes contributions by admirers of Mann’s work Barbara Bloom, Herbet Brün, John Cage, Henri Chopin, Bill Dietz, Jeff Glassman, Tom Hamilton, Hanna Hurtzig, Alvin Lucier, Claire Mandel, Chris Mann, Matthias Osterwold, Vanessa Place, Larry Polansky, and David Watson. 

This performance is curated by Juana Berrío, and the book and postcards are published by Juana Berrío & Yale Union, with the generous support of Ross Sappenfield.

Chris Mann (born 1949) moved to New York in the 1980s and was as an associate of American composers John Cage and Kenneth Gaburo. He has collaborated widely with filmmakers and electronic music composers, and has performed texts in collaboration with artists such as Gary Hill, Tom Buckner, Robert Rauschenberg, David Dunn, Annea Lockwood, and Larry Polansky. His commissions include Paris Autumn Festival, Australian Biennale, Berlinner Festspiele, Radio France, Ars Electronica, National Public Radio, BBC, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Harvestworks, and Dance Works, among many others. In 2013, Mann worked with Sepand Ansari to create a website-based project,, in correspondence with the exhibition "As it were … So to speak: A Museum Collection in Dialogue" with Barbara Bloom at the Jewish Museum in New York. Initially loaded with a library of 1,000 texts representing a wide range of disciplines, the site enables users to search for an idea and make rich and ever deeper associations. In contrast to Google, which provides a prepared answer if you ask the right question, is a celebration of the question you are trying to learn how to ask. Mann currently teaches in the Media Studies Graduate program at The New School.

For more information on Chris Mann please visit his website:

Later Event: April 8