The Past is Singing in Our Teeth, December 2017
premiering at Kunstquartier Bethanian, Berlin
touring to Civic Room, Glasgow March 2018 & Arusha Gallery in July 2018 for the Edinburgh Festival.

Online Catalogue:

Sound composed in collaboration with Cat Hope. Debut performance by Louise Devenish.

“The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object…” (Proust 1922: 45).

The Past is Singing in our Teeth suggests that artworks, objects and sound can serve as an umbilical cord back in time, thus functioning as an intermediary into the past. In this case, a fictional past reinvented in the absence of women’s histories. The final work manifests as a film based installation, incorporating projected films, sound, performance and sculpture. Using methodologies of collage it is an ambitious work that attempts to reconstruct a labyrinth of lost things. Like a conjuring or a haunting, it seeks to draw a line around the things that sit at the periphery of our vision. In particular, it imagines a lost archive of women’s knowledges, a remembrance of which is triggered by the recovery of sacred objects and landscapes.

On opening night percussionist Louise Devenish animated the exhibition, bringing a voice to the silent objects that punctuate the space. The performance metaphorically and actually embodies the idea that listening to quiet sounds, sounds that may otherwise be overlooked, is central to acknowledging the lost voices within our histories. In this context the sculptures become percussion objects, and the films become records of landscapes activated through ritual and memory. The percussionist is clothed in what McMillan calls 'a spell dress'. It is covered in pockets which conceal additional sculptures also used in the performance. To view the performance, is to experience the work in its complete form.