Arnolfini

Caroline Bergvall & Ciran Maher – Say Parsley

Friday, 7th May 2010 to Saturday, 3rd July 2010, 00:00 to 00:00

Free
Say Parsley is a sparse sound and language installation by London-based French-Norwegian writer Caroline Bergvall and Irish composer Ciarán Maher. Organised across a number of spaces, the installation becomes a place for mishearings, recognition, assumptions, misattribution. You hear what you want to hear. You hear what you think you hear.

The background to Say Parsley is the biblical ‘shibboleth’, a violent event where language itself is gatekeeper, and a pretext to massacre. The pronunciation of a given word exposes the identity of the speaker. To speak becomes a give-away. Are you one of us, not one of us? How you speak will be used against you. The most recent example of a large scale shibboleth was the massacre of tens of thousands of Creole Haitians on the border of the Dominican Republic in 1937, when the criteria for execution was the failure to pronounce ‘perejil’ (parsley) in the accepted Spanish manner, with a
rolling ‘r’.

Supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Presented with the assistance of University College Falmouth. Part of Arnolfini’s Lingua Franca series of exhibitions and events.

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