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Step 17 | You’ll soon know

with Ash Kilmartin and Collette Rayner21/03/19, 21/03/2019 Steps

Each act of speech is at once a promise and a demand. Are you still with me? Can you believe this? What can you tell me in return? Ok, well, I’m really not supposed to tell you this, but… Gossip is a perpetual motion machine: expression that breeds expression. Gossip feeds and is fed by community, a system that runs on conversation. In any social relation — conversation, collaboration, friendship — we constantly make a promise (of entertainment, of listening, of understanding, of resolving). But what is it that we expect in return?

Using the social and literary devices of gossip, anecdotes and jokes, Ash and Collette play with tempo, pace, volume, and tone to test the limits of expectation of speech. Using each other as sounding-boards, they experiment with language games, writing exercises and different modes of scripted and improvised delivery to produce new work. They work against the perceived ‘character’ of gossip as only vicious or harmful (especially gendered as feminine); rather seeing it as a form of bonding, verbal processing and care-taking. These works culminate in a live performance/radio broadcast event at Yellow Brick and collaborative film work and text work surrounding its production and presentation. Ahead of this event, they also collect works and stories by other artists and people from the communities they encounter over the course of their stay at Yellow Brick, to be able to host these on a ‘platform of narratives’. The economy of exchanging speech acts provides opportunities to both lead and be guided through shared knowledge and its expression.

*Ash and Collette draw their title from Adriana Cavarero’s etymologies of knowledge and the voice, beginning with the Greek metaphysicians: “the Sirens alert Odysseus to their omniscience by telling him ‘we know [idein] all’”

(Images 6-9 by Collette Rayner)


With the kind support of:

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is a New Zealand-born artist, based in Rotterdam. She works primarily in sculpture and performance, with ongoing projects in sound/ broadcast and print/publishing as alternative modes of collaboration and distribution. Her recent work is concerned with the speaking voice as tool for finding and making public space. She is interested in the way the voice operates the distinction between private and public, being the hinge between the physical material of the body, and the social fabric of language. She is especially sensitive to gendered characterizations of the speaking body, and how inherited power dynamics are written into built space: where and how we speak.

is Scottish artist living in the Netherlands. Over the past several years she has worked in film, animation, drawing and text, with an emphasis on how, on what grounds and by which means to establish a critical relationship to phenomena. Recently, her work has focused upon the speech acts of promise and transmission in relation to the sharing of knowledge, developing how the use of suspension, resistance and reveal generates a flow that pulls the listener towards an expectation and holds an audience’s attention.