(and repeat) I am Strange

Acoustic Sculptural Installation 

Metal, Speaker, Chain

(putting) Words in my mouth 

Acoustic Sculptural Installation 

Metal, Speaker, Chain

NOT RAISED, DRAWN  

Acoustic Sculptural Installation 

Metal, Speaker, Chain

'The space between the idea of something and its reality is always wide and deep and dark. The longer they are kept apart—idea of thing, reality of thing—the wider the width, the deeper the depth, the thicker and darker the darkness'.

 

Jamaica Kincaid, The Best American Essays

NOT RAISED, DRAWN

The work produced by Divine Southgate-Smith for the Third Base residency is a reaction to the play ‘The Blacks, a Clown Show’ by Jean Genet. The controversy surrounding this play, meant that it split the black community in two. At a time where the Black Panthers were on the rise, Maya Angelou performed the play in support of it, whilst James Baldwin disregarded the play on the basis that Jean Genet could not write about black experience. Through deconstructing the play Southgate-Smith wishes to stage a commentary on the visual representations of the performing black body.

 

Inescapably, she toys with the idea of cultural erasure and invites us to question the relationship between silenced bodies and the paradoxical silence that might occur even in the context of being given a voice. Who is allowed to speak and who is silenced? Who gives permission to speak and who is speaking? 

Employing the structure of three acts, the works in this tryptic respond to the themes present in the play. (Putting words) in my mouth, a silent video performance is an adaptation of the play that erases all spoken text, leaving behind simply the stage directions. One is faced with the question of what it means to perform, blackness and whiteness and the absurd banality of this question. 

The dislocated voice is present through a spoken word piece (and repeat) I am Strange. The silenced mouth takes a personified form of the acoustic dish from which the vocal act can be heard.