Talk Show – A season of artworks and live events

Talk Show, a season of artworks and live events addressing that central feature of human life, the act of speech, is currently running at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

Jacqueline Humbert in Made Out of Concrete, 2009 Photo: H. Ito
Jacqueline Humbert in Made Out of Concrete, 2009 Photo: H. Ito

The programme, most of which is free, is being presented in the institute’s Galleries, Theatre and other spaces. It features over a hundred participants, including artists, performers and others whose activities centre on speech and vocal performance, such as linguists, speech therapists and voiceover artists. It addresses the primacy of the spoken word in our social and cultural landscape and its use as a tool to produce and negotiate meaning in art, life and politics.

A programme that promises an array of extraordinary experiences

Many contemporary artists employ the voice as a medium, and Talk Show includes an exhibition of speech-based works in the Lower Gallery and other spaces. Meanwhile, the Upper Gallery is being used as a location for a series of artists’ residencies, events that are open to the public and in which participants research, rehearse and produce new work. The Lower Gallery and Theatre is also hosting performances and presentations by artists, musicians and others, a programme that promises an array of extraordinary experiences. Further events include workshops for training the voice, discussions on different aspects of language and a conference that will call on the newest thinking in the science and sociology of speech.

Talk Show is an experiment in inter-disciplinary programming, and has been curated by the artist, writer and designer Will Holder, working together with Richard Birkett and Jennifer Thatcher of the ICA, and with the help and support of The London Consortium (a multi-disciplinary graduate programme in humanities and cultural studies). A wide range of resources are linked to the season, including a magazine containing a variety of new and reprinted texts. Many of the events will be streamed on the ICA website, as well as by other broadcasters. Finally, the ICA’s new Reading Room is presenting a number of archives of spoken word recordings, allowing visitors to pursue their own research.

The season runs until 31st May and more information can be found at


Mark Wilsher – King, 2008, Loughborough – Documentation of performance – Photo: Jamie Hughes

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