The exhibition takes its title What The Voice Said from the book The Five Senses: A Philosophy of Mingled Bodies by Michel Serres, in which he defends bodily experience against an age of information technology. Part of bodily experience is having a voice and hearing voices. Being heard and being listened to are fraught with risk but also bring the potential for what Serres argues for, a mingling of bodies. This exhibition began with paying attention to voices. The exhibition presents a series of character studies and a hypothetical conversation between two people who are trying to find a way of speaking to each other without restriction, inhibition and ‘regulation’. These pieces of writing slip between fiction and non-fiction; sometimes they are overtly escapist and other times confrontationally ‘real’.
These texts are set against large scale photography by Francis McKee, Isobel Lutz-Smith and Tamsin Greenlaw. These photographs become the sensual home for the texts, giving a space and place to texts which sometimes portray generic characters and everyday observations. Particular phrases turn up again and again in the writing and these phrases become aphorisms (concise, often pithy observations) which have been presented as posters. It is my hope that the exhibition offers the visitor an intimate reading experience, noncommittal aphoristic statements in the form of posters and the very public scenes of the hospital mid-renovation and the street in the early morning when clouded in fog. These images have been chosen as metaphors which suggest both continual renewal and the dense uncertainty of our social and sensory world.
Sarah Tripp’s creative practice has three strands: writing fiction, devising live events and working with moving image and sound. Her works span the narrative arts and often take more than one form existing simultaneously as publication, performance, film or work for radio broadcast. The status of strangers, gestures of resistance and moods are reoccurring themes of her recent works which draw from psychoanalysis and literature. Her recent works include: 24 Stops commissioned by Camden Arts Centre and University College London Hospital Arts and You Are of Vital Importance published by Book Works (London). In 2018 she will publish her first novel with Book Works (London) exploring conversation as an artform. She is a Lecturer on the MFA programme at The Glasgow School of Art.
Syndromes and a Century, by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
(Selected by Sarah Tripp)
Wednesday 25th April 7:30pm, Belmont Filmhouse — Kino Bar
Syndromes and a Century, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, is a Buddhist meditation on the mysteries of love and attraction, the workings of memory, and the ways in which happiness is triggered. Mesmerisingly beautiful to look at, it is also laced with wonderful absurd humour. The film is a tribute to the director's parents and is divided into two parts, with the characters and dialogue in the second half essentially the same as the first, but the settings and outcome of the stories different. The first part is set in a hospital in rural Thailand, while the second half is set in a Bangkok medical centre. The two central characters interact with a bizarre array of professional colleagues and patients with their various strange maladies, including an elderly haematologist who hides her whisky supplies in a prosthetic limb, a Buddhist monk suffering from bad dreams about chickens, and a young monk who once dreamed of being a DJ and now forms an intense bond with a singing dentist, whom he believes to be the reincarnation of his dead brother. It is a film of two halves – the first set in a sunlit rural hospital amid lush, tropical vegetation, the second in a hi-tech urban clinic under fluorescent lighting. Certain scenes from the first half are replayed in the second – almost, but not quite identically.
“Syndromes and a Century is a poem on screen: a film of ideas and visual tropes that upends conventional narrative expectations, not out of a simple desire to disconcert but to break through the carapace of normality...”, Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian.