the communal nature of voice, visually and aurally
'As we make words in our mouth we actually sculpt them into shape.' (Patsy Rodenburg)
The multi-lingual chatter filling the space of the central stairwell of the Performance Centre was the aural backbone of the whole show, the audience moving in and out of both sound and space. Constructed from Leona's original recordings the soundscape filled three storeys, giving the impression of hundreds of people speaking, communicating, the hubbub of voices ebbing and flowing, enveloping the show's audience.
an extract of Chatter 1' 17"
Two linked pieces took the exploration of Voice to its ultimate conclusion in this show - how throat and mouth are the final stage in the passage of voice from a body, and how Voice links inner and outer, personal and public, physical and intellect.
To enter the 'mouth' space - the chamber of words - people had to walk along a short corridor - a 'throat' space. A short recording was placed in the corridor, describing the physical sensation of words in the larynx as felt by vibrations through fingertips - an invitation to travel inwards and consider the sound, shape, feel of words as part of the body, and a precursor to the interaction possible in 'mouth'.
The components of the 'mouth' space were the result of links Leona had formed with people who love reading.
This part complemented the chatter in that it was also multi-lingual and busy, but it began silently. A very large windowless studio was filled, graffiti-like, with written words collected from a network of contacts who enthusiastically responded to Leona's request to suggest words they loved for the sound not the meaning. Words collected covered many languages (English, Welsh, Catalan, French, Spanish, Scots Gaelic, Shaetlan, German), and the range was immense, fulfilling Leona's ambition to connect the show to a wide geographic spread.
Audience members were encouraged to read the words aloud, allowing people to consider the part their bodies play in the production of voice. The strong reverberation within the studio added to the timbre and pleasure of voices. Several people who suggested words for the walls read them aloud, resulting in an added layer of the blurring of boundaries around authorship, performance and audience.