Cover Versions

Grand Parade Gallery, University of Brighton, 2008
Part site-specific performance, part participatory experiment involving gallery visitors, students, tutors and the general public on the street.

Cover Versions initially began life as a proposal for work based around the ontological transferal of conversation and sound. Submissions of found and fictional conversations were gathered over the period of a month and then turned into scripts. As was expected, a lot of the conversations I received had been lifted from online social networking sites such as ‘Facebook’ and ‘MySpace’. Noticing the ease at which we can appropriate others peoples’ conversations, points of view, speech mechanisms as our own, became prevalent whilst researching the submitted material. Social networking websites afford a degree of privacy to the user, however when we address one person publicly on the Internet we are constantly aware of a wider audience. An unpredictable audience is always in the background of an interpersonal relationship. Such networking sites offer up fruitful material with concern to how we cultivate our individual identities and the voyeuristic tendencies we behold.

The screen is our friend

The scripts were placed in an installation comparable to a recording booth environment. Two microphones concealed from the rest of the exhibition by a shadow screen partition. The parameters of the Grand Parade gallery: the threshold space between the gallery and the street became the sight for subsequent audio displacement to unfold.

An anonymous site of reception

The online ramblings of interlocutors on a message became scripts to be read out loud by anyone who encountered them in the gallery and wished to do so. The scripts were presented along with a set of instructions, prompting gallery visitors to recite the scripts individually or with others into the microphones. Nothing was included in the area to suggest that voices would be amplified outside on the street.