Last week was a blur of supervisory meetings and lectures. I attended a performance-lecture by Brandon LaBelle in support of his upcoming book Lexicon of the Mouth. There were a lot of interesting textual interplays in his performance, which was delivered wonderfully calmly and engagingly. The mouth, as a site from which sound emerges in the absence of language, seems to him to be an interesting area of study, and his analysis took in stammering and speech impediments, silences and breaths, and the voice. The mouth is important in that it is to him “a channel between depths and surfaces”, and because “subjectivity is defined by the mouth”. I thought of how young children explore the world through putting things in their mouth, and how this transitions to expelling things from the mouth – words – as a way of positioning oneself in the world. “The mouth escapes my vocabulary”. Great stuff.
I’ve also been working on a number of pieces for a show that might not happen. One of these is a collaboration with my supervisor that has involved the heavy editing of the soundtrack to a TV show about architecture. I’m also working on a piece that uses computerised voices, in this case from the fab Acapela Group who I last worked with on the Host 8: Observatory project, and a text on brutalism by Reyner Banham.
I today prepared a proposal for a live art mentoring opportunity. I have a horrible feeling the deadline has expired but it was still useful to write it. Getting a sense of what I think is lacking in this area of my practice helps me figure out what I want to happen: I don’t know how to devise performance. To get some assistance with that would be helpful.
But, mainly, I’ve been thinking hard about this text by Jamie Lauren Keiles. It’s been on my mind a lot because the description of online experience as causing shame resonates strongly. Why shame? Shame is about the private being revealed, vulnerability, revelation. The messy links between sharing online and the erosion of privacy – we feel anxious and ashamed. It’s sticking in my mind so much that I’m almost going to have to make a piece of work about it.