Mouth Piece


W  o  r  k  s  h  o  p

Ant and Rita also offer a workshop based on the concept and processes driving Mouth Piece. So far this has been done in Nîmes, France (Ecole des Beaux Arts) and at the Iceland Art Academy, Reykjavík.

Ideally spread over 3-4 days, the workshop begins with a fragmented ‘seminar’ comprising a selection of video, text, audio and photography (from a wide variety of sources eg. philosophy, psychology, pop, literature, documentary, rumours, artworks…) exploring some key notions to do with voice and language, knowing vs. not-knowing, copying and ‘channeling’, immigration, assimilation and the building of reciprocal trust between strangers.

A&R then introduce their performance, and perform the introduction and a short excerpt of the main part. Following discussion, the group then splits into pairs and goes out hitch-hiking: short distances ‘out of town’. They follow the same process as A&R, introducing themselves as wanting to learn the local language, and needing to record the answers in order to learn it by heart. A&R also hitch-hike and pick up text. Following this, everyone regroups and shares stories and material. A&R then share their strategies of transcription, notation and various tips to do with listening, rehearsing and learning. The pairs each learn and practice the text they’ve learnt. The different pairs’ results are compiled into a short performance, which A&R then help the participants to play with (looping sections, emphasising musical aspects, different voicing tactics, etc).

The workshop works well when the majority of participants do not speak the local language, but it can also work if they do. In Iceland, all but one of the students spoke no Icelandic. The text spoken to the drivers was either in English, or they had prepared some words in Icelandic to explain themselves. It was also very valuable to have someone who did speak the language: she was able to push the assignment in different directions and her work positioned itself interestingly among the others’. In Iceland, the results were broadcast on national radio. In France, where all participants spoke French, the focus was less on their own alienation to the language, and more on the nature of this speech-act and the work of listening and learning. 

Ant and Rita speak English, French and Spanish - they can run the workshop in those languages. They also speak basic Italian and Portuguese: if participants have basic English, workshops in those languages are also possible.

Above, hitching in Iceland

Right, by Mladen Dolar; a key reference

Below, an example of transcription / notation for the learning of an Icelandic utterance