My practice this term has explored various aspects of my identity, from my general interests, to riddles and questions. A part of my identity which I haven’t thought about expressing before was my stammer, which I have had since the age of six.
In the first week I (along with a small group of classmates) produced a short video “Winnebago Skeleton”, this began my interest in using media in art. Though the first few weeks of term follow different areas of my identity, they didn’t seem to express my identity effectively and I wanted to create something I bit more elaborate. As stammering has always been a major part of my life where I used to avoid trying to talk in front of large groups, but after sessions of speech therapy I have improved on my speaking and my confidence.
Looking at Marianne Vitale’s video on Patrons inspired me to produce a very demanding, rather awkward video; initially my plans were to use speeches made and re-enact them in a very awkward manner, where I mess up lines and act shy towards the camera. I decided to scrap this idea as it makes for of a mockery for people with speaking issues rather than embracing them. My choice of speeches to re-enact were; Obama’s “Yes we can”, Hawking’ “Life in the universe” and a short bit of a Charles Manson interview. Although none of these people stammer, I wanted to express that people with speaking problems stand firmly and that speech is a human right that we are all welcome to use. I wanted to use both ends of the scale to demonstrate the capability speech can incline, from expressing hope to opinions to persuasion. Krzysztof Wodiczko inspired me to explore different viewpoints with my camera, by recording my hands based on the person; I portrayed my hands based on their speech.
However, I noticed that I stammer much less when in front of a camera, so I decided to take the piece into a performance. I decided to change the piece and do a more contemporary speech given by Boris Johnson. His speech discusses how such a small portion of UK citizens have a high IQ and how people will lower IQs are inferior (ironically Boris failed basic IQ questions the following morning on the radio), I chose this speech as it suggests totalitarian which creates a very awkward situation speaking about this to the public.
As not a lot of artist have really covered the concept of speech impediments this performance is a step forward in my art, as many performances and speeches are devoid of stuttering my work juxtaposes the idea of people embracing their speech problems and shouldn’t need to feel ashamed of it. Covering this concept has inspired me to work harder in this project, as it has always been a very personal part of my life that often some people aren’t aware of.
Bathroom writing – inspiration for choice of canvas
Krzysztof Wodiczko – inspiration to explore hand movements
Click link for my video – Stutter the Unspeakable
Stutter the Unspeakable
Boris Johnson Video
I decided instead to simply placed the phrse “Firm I Stutter” on the front of my plinth. I find that the simplicity of the text strongly represents for what I stand for.