ROWLAND HILL                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Work / Curated ProjectsInfo

Visible Speech (2018)
Collaborative performance with Manchester Deaf Centre
The Portico Library
8th May, 2018

In 1867 Alexander Melville Bell published Visible Speech - a complex system of phonetic symbols developed to represent the position of the speech organs in articulating sounds. It was intended to “improve” the vocal articulation of deaf people everywhere, and formed part of a widespread campaign in the discouragement of British Sign Language and other non verbal forms of communication. I collaborated with members of Manchester Deaf Centre on a performance using BSL in response to Visible Speech, in order to undermine Bell’s ideology by introducing non verbal communication back into the very system that sought to erase it. The piece is a provocation which seeks to raise questions around language, power and freedom of expression - then, and now.
Rowland Hill © 2018