Voicing the Political: The subject of the sentence

Lis Rhodes, A Cold Draft, 1988. Film still. Courtesy the artist and LUX, London
Lis Rhodes, A Cold Draft, 1988. Film still. Courtesy the artist and LUX, London
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In this session we will navigate between the writing we hear onscreen and voiced printed text. We will consider ideas including the self in art and under law, anger and its abstraction, and the possibility of political agitation through unruly aesthetic experiment. Alongside an introduction by Sarah Hayden of Lis Rhodes’ film A Cold Draft (1988, 28’), poet Vicky Sparrow will consider the making of art as agitation and provocation in the work of poet, artist and radical activist, Anna Mendelssohn (1948-2009). Together, we will seek out connections between Mendelssohn’s experimental poetry and the visually and vocally disruptive work of Lis Rhodes.

This season’s study sessions address vocality as a phenomenon at the confluence of embodiment and technicity, the individual and the collective, interior and exterior, sound and sense. Each session will comprise screenings, collective readings, and listening experiments. By discussing language-based artistic and literary practices, we will work together to interrogate the politics of how voice is used, represented, imagined and heard.

Voicing the Political has been programmed as part of Voices in the Gallery, an AHRC-funded research project, led by Sarah Hayden at the University of Southampton in conjunction with John Hansard Gallery and Nottingham Contemporary. The event is part of a series of discussions about the materiality of text and of the speaking voice in contemporary moving image.

Vicky Sparrow is a Nottingham-based poet, teacher and researcher specialising in poetry and poetics. She currently teaches English and Creative Writing at the University of Nottingham and the University of London (Birkbeck and Queen Mary), and edits reviews for the Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry. She has recently completed her PhD on the poet-activist Anna Mendelssohn and is incoming fellow at the Wellcome Trust, researching intersections between poetry and therapy. Sparrow’s poems can be found in Front Horse, In Transit, datableed, Litmus and elsewhere; her debut pamphlet Notes to Selves (2016) is published by Zarf Editions.

Sarah Hayden is Associate Professor at the University of Southampton, where she directs the Centre for Modern and Contemporary Writing and leads the AHRC ‘Voices in the Gallery’ project, (2019-2021). 'Voices in the Gallery' investigates the voiceover as a phenomenon that exists simultaneously as art-form, literary genre and sonic intervention in the contemporary gallery space. She is the author of the books, Curious Disciplines: Mina Loy and Avant-Garde Artisthood and Peter Roehr–Field Pulsations (jointly authored with Paul Hegarty), as well as various articles, chapters, poems and chapbooks.

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