When they speak

What can people do when they speak? Performativity is not only to be found in the quality of the language itself, but in the quality of the exposure it will benefit from. For a speech to take place, all sorts of energies must be mobilised. The act of speaking up is an engagement, however one does it.

© Félix
© Félix

When they speak is a project that investigates the conditions and forms of political expression. It is motivated by a political and intimate concern for the power or fragility of speech-acts. It is an attempt to put put into play issues such as embodiment and (re)enactment, engagement and exposure.

The two concepts of performance and performativity articulate this research, by designating two important dimensions of discourses :

- a theatrical dimension, including a relation actor/spectator, and notions like staging, story-telling or dramaturgy.
- a performative dimension, as described by John L. Austin, which refers to the impact some utterances have on reality. Or, in the words of Michel Foucault, the fact that "men do/make something when they speak".

Starting like a presentation of my practice, this performance incoporates words of women that have expressed themselves politically. Along the speech, the living body, the uttered words and the projected text acquire their autonomy.

The result is a triple layered event, in which the substance and coherence of speech is at stake. Questions arise, such as who is speaking, where, how speeches respond to each other, what are the connections between the words, the orator and the context, and what happens if these connections are missing or twisted.

Research & Creation: Alicia Jeannin — Residency support: workspacebrussels


06.06.2022 - 25.06.2022