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Sick Ardour

A Solo Exhibition by Anna Barham

Date/Time: 26 Jan 2018 - 10 Mar 2018

Venue: Ex-Libris Gallery, at Newcastle University’s Fine Art department

For the exhibition, Barham presents a single screen video exploring the permeability of a body and its relationship to sound, image and space, focusing on the iconography of the cicada — an insect more often heard than seen. The title is a homonym of ‘cicada’ and the video is constructed around the slowed down recording of a male’s familiar mating call. Cross section images of the insect are interwoven in a rhythmic structure with other footage and sounds relating to descriptions of the cicada’s voice in various cultures — ranging from Haiku to ancient Chinese burial practices to Greek lyric poetry. Barham works across moving image, sculpture, performance and publishing to explore the relationship between the written and spoken word. Her work explores the materiality and errancy of language alongside broader issues of translation and subjectivity.

Over the last 4 years she has used the format of live production reading groups to explore reading as a form of co-authoring and will undertake one of her reading groups as part of the exhibition. Barham will work with Foundation Press towards the publication of a new artist’s book to be launched at an event in April that will bring together content from these reading groups. Sick Ardour forms part of a programme organised by the Fine Art department’s Curatorial Fellow, George Vasey. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events and discussions led by students in response to Barham’s work.

A solo exhibition by Felicity Allen will follow in April. Event: Knives Live production reading group (26th January 11-1pm) Join Anna Barham to participate in a live production reading group that will form the content for her artist’s publication. In Barham's reading groups, meaning proliferates from the physical surface of language — the sound, rhythm & cadence of the voice. Barham uses a range of appropriated texts as source material to be processed through the participants’ readings and speech recognition software. Slipping from version to version, syntax and meaning ebb and flow in the unpunctuated blocks output by the computer so that each reader must ‘re-author’ the text in order to perform it. The work extends Barham’s concerns with the subjectivities created as language passes between different bodies and technologies.

The event is free and please note that spaces are limited so early booking is advised. Email george.vasey@ncl.ac.uk if you would like to participate.