HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language

23. March 2013 - 28. July 2013 Dortmunder U, Level 3

HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language is an exhibition on the performativity of voice and language, the inauthenticity and uncanniness of speaking, voice as a political speech act, and language as performative utterance.

We are acting through language – but how does language act through us? The exhibition HIS MASTER'S VOICE: On Voice and Language addresses the uncanny, irritating or comical moments produced by the human voice and language. This selection of performances, videos and web projects lets spectators experience the emotional, social and political potential of the voice. How is the voice connected to the body and identity of the individual? What happens when the spoken word detaches itself from the speaker, the text from its meaning, the sound from the image? What if the voice no longer belongs to the body from which it emanates? The artists in this exhibition listen to ventriloquists and voice-over artists as well as propagandists and preachers. They explore and re-enact historic and contemporary speech acts, probing the emotional and spiritual effect of the vocal power and word games, and playing with shifts of meaning and identity. While doing so, they also experiment with the various media used to record, reproduce or silence the voice.

Additional materials (books, film extracts, videos, quotations, etc.) addressing and commenting upon the notion of the performativity of the voice, speech and language will be shown alongside with the 28 works in the exhibition. These additional materials will be presented in six display cabinets.

On the occasion of the exhibition a German/English catalogue will be published dealing with the performativity of voice and language. With contributions by Inke Arns, Florian Cramer, Bojana Kunst, Liesbeth de Mol, Katarina Zdjelar and Fabian Saavedra-Lara, including a documentation of the works in the exhibition and the performances, as well as the additional display cabinet materials contextualising and commenting upon the topic of the exhibition. Design: Labor B.

Curated by Inke Arns

Opening: Friday 22 March 2013, 7 pm

Welcome addresses:
- Kurt Eichler, executive director of Kulturbetriebe der Stadt Dortmund and acting director of Dortmunder U
- Dr. Barbara Könches, director of the Department of Visual Arts, Kunststiftung NRW
- Dr. Inke Arns, exhibition curator and artistic director of HMKV

Funders and Partners

Generously supported by Kunststiftung NRW

Main funders of HMKV: Kulturbüro Stadt Dortmund, Ministerium für Familie, Kinder, Jugend, Kultur und Sport des Landes NRW

Kindly supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Pro Helvetia, Swiss Cultural Foundation, the Office for Visual Arts/Institut français in collaboration with the French Ministry for Culture and Communication/DGCA, and Deutschlandradio Kultur.
Media partners: ARTE Creative, de:bug, Ruhrgestalten

You will find press material on this program item in our press area.