10 channel audio in 60square metre maze (black wool serge) (2017) - size & duration variable

Tongue twisters in 30 languages recorded in Cork, Ireland in 2017 with 60 participants

First exhibited at CIT Wandesford Quay Gallery, Cork as part of Locate Yourself

Photo: Jed Niezgoda

Available to tour, for further details contact

Babel builds on the concepts of spoken language as cultural signifier, mode of communication and it’s direct physiological expression via the body as resonator: particularly the mouth, nose and sinuses. Language conveys a range of information, ranging from the syntactical to the cultural. Tongue twisters, often played as a game around in the kitchen table, present an ideal means to combine cultural information within a discretionary syntactical framework which also serves to express the unique physiological and regional expression of a speaker’s learnt and developed approach to spoken language. The installation re-presents the mythical concept of Babel as a maze, a spatial complex to be negotiated, which functions as a lateral counterpoint to the tower of legend and its vertical and hierarchical architecture. The maze, beginning from the entry to the gallery, transforms the architectural and our experience of it, while the tongue twisters within the maze present a further spatial transformation that navigates regional, cultural and personal vectors of individual and collective articulations of ontological experience, albeit in a playful and engaging manner. The speech varies from intimate to declarative, the frequency distribution of the spoken words also playing upon our hard-wired neural processing of the navigation of our personal space and proprioception, further impacting on our ability to navigate the maze, gallery and broader cultural frameworks.