Too Prolix: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Steve Klee

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24.01.15 > 01.02.15
Preview: Friday 23.01.15. 6-9pm
Gallery Open: Saturday – Sunday 1-6pm

The exhibition is one manifestation of a research project that draws inspiration from contemporary philosophy and its on-going struggle to define human agency with, or against, ‘material conditions’. The show includes video documentation of a performance, realised this summer. This piece took worker-disputes in British Royal Dockyards of the Eighteenth century as indicative of the wider social upheavals within Europe of that time. Was the exorbitant rhetoric of the dockyard workers, their prolixity, evidence of ‘Jacobean influence’? I thought so, and emphasised the workers’ evasion of their social destiny by having their words performed in the mannered gestural acting-style associated with the C18 elite. Every turn of the head or hand movement conveyed a meaning…

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Let’s shift the frame. What if rhetoric does not only perform but can touch the real, indexing matter? A matter not life-less in comparison with the excitements of human activity and intensity but rather one that deserves to be thought on the same ontological plane. Is the historical narrative of the break-up of the ancient-regime as much of an object as the appropriated museum mannequin I intend to exhibit?

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It would seem that rhetoric (representation), either as performance, or index is the key term; perhaps it is time to think through its definition once more…

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66 Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road London E8 4QN