“How to talk about art” is a sound installation featuring filler speech uttered by writer Sarah Thornton during a staged conversation with artist Grayson Perry at Tate Modern in London. Titled "What makes an Artist?", the event took place on Thursday, October 2, 2014 between six thirty and eight pm. The original conversation can be heard here: http://tinyurl.com/nwdkxcz
English subtitles are available.
“How to talk about art” is played in a very dimly lit room built inside an art gallery, called The Inner Sanctum. Upon entering this space-within-a-space, the visitor is given the opportunity to sit on a rug and meditate as “How to talk about art” plays in loop. Thornton’s speech fillers, mumbles, and stutters are diffused by a surround sound system. They are played in sequence, i.e. as they were uttered during the conversation with Perry. They are not repeated or electronically manipulated. Fillers are parts of speech which are not generally recognized as purposeful or containing formal meaning, usually expressed as pauses such as "uh", "like", "you know", and "er". The audio piece operates as a mantra. It is, in effect, Sarah’s mantrah (sic). Isolated from their original source and subsequently edited as one continuous track, the fillers produce an almost melodic chant that may or may not have psychological, neurological, and even spiritual effects over the listener, modulating her or his consciousness in powerful, yet unpredictable, ways. A wittgensteinian exploration of language and meaning, “How to talk about art” requires close listening.
English subtitles can be activated by pressing the CC icon
A full transcription of this piece is available at mattscape.org
Sarah Thornton is the author of two books on art: 33 Artists in 3 Acts (Granta, 2014) and Seven Days in the Art World (Granta, 2009), both international bestsellers. Thornton was the chief writer on contemporary art for The Economist and has written about the art market and art world for several publications including The Art Newspaper, Artforum.com, The New Yorker, The Telegraph, and The Guardian. Thornton holds a BA in Art History and a PhD in the Sociology of Culture. Her academic posts have included a full time lecturing position at the University of Sussex, and a period as Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London.
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