Writing for the Toxic Voice

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How might our bodies speak in different tongues, human and non-human alike? Can sacred, otherworldly and nonsensical tongues tell us about the multiple voices we carry within? Hosted by Lou Lou Sainsbury, this writing-listening session, explores nonsensicality, glossolalia (speaking in tongues) and writing as modes for disarming systemic violence. Using movement, vocals, reading and listening exercises, we will explore a multitude of voices, within historical, interpersonal, scientific and poetic languages.

In medieval Europe, dissident voices were cast as a plague or infection upon the state, scapegoated alongside otherworldly speech believed to be miraculous. Within our contemporary political landscape, these histories might suggest alternative readings and actions against social toxicity. The informal and exploratory workshop departs from Lou Lou Sainsbury’s new live-performance and research 1667: Not Alive Just Living, probing issues in contemporary toxicity, right-wing extremism, queer and ecological activism and historical scapegoats including the figure of the vampire.

Loose and comfortable attire is recommended for light movement. This workshop is reduced-mobility friendly.

“There are many voices in Ophelia’s madness speaking through her, all making sense, and none of them her own. She becomes the mirror for a madness-inducing world.” - The Woman in Hamlet: An Interpersonal View, David Leverenz, 1978

“Stop making sense.” - Talking Heads - Girlfriend is Better, Speaking in Tongues, 1983

Lou Lou Sainsbury is a non-binary artist, filmmaker, musician and writer based in London. They make things about strange and close encounters, seeking exploratory and intimate approaches to understand technology, power, and how living beings are represented in these structures. Lou Lou uses sloppy words, noisy performances and unstable images, creating treacherous and embodied fables for utopian thinking. They were an associate artist at Open School East (2017) and recently co-founded Remote Control (2019), an artist collective working with video and performance.

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