Susan Merrick

Artist and Interpreter. Power Language Access

Permission to Speak

cups 6

 

Today I had a tutorial with the wonderful Tom Dale. We talked for quite a while about the use of giving permission or feeling permitted to speak. In my recent work at Weydon school I used the cup and string game in my installation. I wanted the audience to consider the freedom they had to play in the context of Liberty, freedom of speech and contemporary politics compared to the suffragette movement. What I also did by adding a wall to the game, was give some privacy to the speaker possibly  allowing a feeling of freedom of self expression. A permission to speak.

This led us to a conversation about speakers corner in Hyde park, and why it has been considered a threat. Why does having a ‘corner’ feel more threatening than the rest of the park? It seems precisely because it IS labelled. The label of speakers corner gives people ‘permission’ to speak. Perhaps we should label every park and street corner as a speakers corner. A place to talk and think through ideas. Would this feel easier or harder than our far more frequently used social media? I think that probably depends on he individual. Or perhaps the topic and the area in which the street corner falls.

Im going to continue to consider ‘permission’ over the next few weeks. Permission to speak and ways in which my art can give permission to an audience to participate or speak. I want to engage with my art, so without thinking about this I may fall short!

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