Catch THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE in its last couple of days at Tramway, Glasgow, 3-6pm daily. Elsewhere about the city, its worth popping in to see Sue Tompkins new works on paper, showing as part of On Publications, Portraits, Public Art and Performance, an exhibition curated by Daniel Bauman, in the Modern Institute’s old space; while Cara Tolmie also presents a new video work in Kiss of Life, an exhibition staged by the Finn Collective in the amazing renovated Glue Factory in Maryhill.


Working primarily with radio, artist Gregory Whitehead has developed sound compositions, poems, lectures and plays for nearly 30 years. The potency of his sound works are derived from juxtaposing linguistic and abstract noise, and the accumulation of disembodied voice patterns. Whitehead’s practice points not to the materiality of sound, but rather what he terms as underlying relationships of living/dead, present/removed, outcast/audience.

While sounds can be controlled, these underlying relationships are extremely unstable, and sometimes you just have to give into what they want to do. So there is the wily spirit of the Trickster, perhaps, who has the humour to be both master and victim of the scene.

If a Voice Like, Then What?, 1984, 2m 48s, voice cut-up, Tellus cassette

Zigurrat, 1984, 4m 38s, dance soundtrack and compilation release, chant degeneration

Commissioned as part of THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE, artist Cara Tolmie presents a new work comprising of text and performance. Titled The end is a tumultuous noise, Tolmie first performed the work Thursday, 15 April 2010, in Tramway 4. Presented here is the documentation of the text piece. Video documentation will be posted shortly.

Click images for larger view.

Cara Tolmie, 'The end is a tumultuous noise', 2010, text

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Meredith Monk’s film Book of Days (1988) is a full-length feature that follows the lives of medieval villagers beset by the plague. Drawing parallels between the black death and Monk’s observation of the AIDS crisis in New York contemporary to the making of the film, Book of Days dramatises archetypes in search of and in support of humanity.

Kimberley O’Neill and Cara Tolmie, ‘A Game’, performance, Talbot Rice Gallery, 2009.

As part of the Urlibido cabaret-style night, London-based artists Kimberley O’Neill and Cara Tolmie (whose work is being shown as part of THE VOICE IS A LANGUAGE) will be presenting new collaborative musical compositions featuring song, sampled sound and live performance.

Urlibido is a project curated by Sarah Lowndes and Katie Nicoll, with Kim Coleman & Jenny Hogarth. Additional artists also include Shelly Nadashi, Susie Green, Morag Ross.

8pm, 22 April 2010, Sloans Ballroom, Glasgow. Admission: £4, tickets available through Tramway Box Office 0845 330 350

Meredith Monk, '16mm Earrings', 1966, performance. Courtesy The House Foundation

The following interview was conducted between Isla Leaver-Yap and Meredith Monk in her apartment, 3 March 2010.

MEREDITH MONK: What we have of 16mm Earrings is a document made by Robert Withers. We shot it in 1977; that’s already ten years after the piece was made, which was 1966. In the original performance I had an accumulation of sound loops, which made the environment completely haunting. To me, the film seems more fragmented. I was working to make an ironic relationship between the text and what was happening. The thing I like about the document of 16mm Earrings is that at least – I mean, looking at it now it’s a pretty moving rite of passage of a young woman coming into her sexuality. But the original performance had more power and sophistication.

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