Free to Air: Figures of Speech
This curated programme of experimental film and documentary, from the last 25 years, revealed how artists have used the voice (its presence and absence) as a tool to examine the complexity of human relationships. Experimenting with form, technique and narrative, these filmmakers have utilised iterative speech patterns, dissonant utterances, mute gestures and an array of linguistic propositions to articulate concerns around exile, disorientation and loss as well as commemoration, celebration and recuperation.
In some films the spoken word, manifest through talking and singing, is juxtaposed with inscriptions that represent the implied voice conveyed through letters and other personal correspondence. This approach provides a structural framework by becoming part of a sophisticated image/sound montage. In several works the fractured voice of multiple narrators overlays and intercuts footage or stills imagery to disrupt a linear narrative; in others, the absence of the voice (the silent film) acts as a powerful metaphor for the gap between what is understood or expressed and what is untranslatable or lost in the act of translation.
Featuring works by 10 artists living and working in London, ‘Figures of Speech’ included film and video works by George Chakravarthi, Nisha Duggal, Campbell Ex, Mona Hatoum, Isaac Julien, Nina Mangalanayagam, Keith Piper, Zineb Sedira, Alia Syed and Erika Tan. Curated by Melanie Keen.
Image: Erika Tan, Exercises in Phonological Stretching from PIDGIN: interrupted transmission, 2001Back to Projects