Ventriloquy: Self by Proxy
Liquid Architecture Co-Artistic Director Joel Stern has curated Gertrude Contemporary's Octopus exhibition (an annual showcase for curatorial research and practice) for 2019 with a project called VENTRILOQUY, exploring human/dummy relations and the vocalic uncanny through new artworks and performances by Australian and international artists. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of public programs presented in partnership with Liquid Architecture at various venues in Melbourne.
This public program, Self by Proxy will take place in multiple spaces at the Meat Market Stables and features new performances created for Ventriloquy by JAMES RUSHFORD and RACHEL YEZBICK, KATE BROWN, JAKE MOORE, CAROLYN CONNORS, SAGE PBBBT, JENNY BARNES. The works, as a suite, explore the idea of the self as always at the outset delegated, substituted, prosthetic, and other.
Melbourne composer James Rushford and Los Angeles-based moving-image artist Rachel Yezbick will premier a new collaborative performance titled 'And Laid Him On The Green' for multiple projections, live conversation, prerecorded sound, and vocal ensemble. The work is an experiment in misheard, barely-caught, and residual moments occurring at the intersection of technical capture and human interpretation. Vocalists Kate Brown, Carolyn Connors; Sage Pbbbt; and Jenny Barnes will perform alongside Rushford and Yezbick. .
Sydney artist Kate Brown will also present a solo work exploring the sonic flow between internal (as in inside the body) and external architectures and structures. The performance will continue Kate's long running practice of turning (and tuning) the voice inside out, and outside in.
Also presenting on the night will be Melbourne artist Jake Moore who present a new work drawing on appropriated recordings of iconic American vocalist and composer Joan LaBarbara, filtered through two speakers, two chairs and a talkbox.
Self by Proxy will take place at the MEAT MARKET STABLES, with the performances occupying multiple discrete spaces within the warehouse-style venue. There will be wine and beer.
"The variability of the voice’s origin, whether magically detached from the body, or erupting from illegitimate orifices, means that the ventriloquial voice is both an attempt to imagine and pit the speech of the body against the speech of culture, and an attempt to control that illegitimate speech, to draw it into discourse."
What we call ventriloquism is an effect, created in the mind of the spectator. (As Steven Connor says, ‘The art of ventriloquism consists very largely in persuading the audience to do much of the ventriloquist’s work [....] in enfleshing the voice from the skeletal approximations that the ventriloquist supplies”.) Ventriloquy is as much a trick of the mind as it is a trick of the mouth. The sound is issuing from either the wrong time and place, or the wrong voice and body. Or from no body at all. The voice and its shadow, time out of place, a wrong time-place: ventriloquism is about being in-and-out of sync. It is an anachronism, or as Connor (again) says, a dissociation effect, the voice separated from its source, the source either known but not present (‘clear, so to speak, to the ear, but not apparent to the eye’); or purely imagined (hearing voices where there are none). But the difference between these two, ‘the difference between dissimulation and hallucination’, may not always be objective. Speech itself may live as a state of ventriloquy, in ‘there’ talking within us as if we are spoken from elsewhere. Do we, like the doll, offer ourselves as a dummy location for the voice which cannot be placed - a vessel for dummification?
Narcissism and its Echoes: Notes from Steven Connor’s Knee.
Gertrude Octopus 19, VENTRILOQUY, is curated by Joel Stern. The exhibition is accompanied by a series of public programs presented in partnership with Liquid Architecture at various venues in Melbourne.
James Rushford and Rachel Yezbick's project has been supported by Creative Victoria