Proper speech, score and performance, 2016

prɑpər ˈspiːtʃ departs from the idea and practice of “proper speech” and how the linguistic norms and laws that it abides under has its roots in ideology and the idea of civilized discourse (as opposed to the “primitive” sounds of the “sub-human”). The piece takes an interest in the relation between speech and body, how the mouth is schooled by incorporating the practice of proper speech, how the movements of the mouth is tied to the plays of power, and how the learning of proper speech is a way to exercise power over the bodies of the speakers by making them incorporate and internalize a linguistic and grammatical structure. The score discusses and defines what proper speech is and what it demands. Being written in phonetics, it is also an instruction, spelling out the correct way to utter and pronounce the words. By problematizing what kind of practice speech is – ideologically as well as movement-wise – it makes room for a faultering speech.

Audio performance by Diana Agunbiade-Kolawole

Proper speech – the score