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The Persuaders


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17 Apr – 29 Jun 2003

A video project built up around fragments of the human voice, The Persuaders utilises the automatic vocalisations of people in stimulated states.

Entering the space of The Persuaders we are confronted by seven 'urgers', seven figures who alternatively cajole, admonish, exhort and abuse us for sins real or imagined. Just occasionally we get it right, and these impassioned observers are lavish with fleeting praise - 'good on ya!'. For much of the time, these persuaders (if that is what they are) simply watch: impassive, slumped, tense. Their sudden explosions, sighs, cries, catcalls and admonitions catch us by surprise.

A new kind of symphony... The Persuaders dramatises the surges of energy that come out of people operating at the edge of language.

Ross Gibson

It takes a moment to realise that these seven individuals are in separate spaces - clearly 'at home' - and that they are not simply watchers, but 'barrackers'. Each is familiar with the names of all the players and the failings of the umpire, intimate with the machinery of the unnamed game in play. Like nervous back seat drivers, each dropped mark or torpedo punt is rehearsed in the body and breath of the barracker. But it is soon apparent that each watches their own game – a different game, at a different time.

In this space, time does not roll out smoothly, in one direction, continuously. In the space of The Persuaders time is fragmented, cut up, represented by the artists as an accidental composition of conjunctions – and disjunctions – of sound and gesture. While one watcher regards us with sullen silence, another erupts in a fury that passes just as quickly as it arises. Emotions flicker across faces, and move through the body in twitches and tics, grand gestures.

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