Positioned and embarrassed by the global ascendancy of the English languages, Clare Charnley dreams of combating this situation on a personal level by becoming an amazing linguist. The Gift of Tongues sets out to momentarily trick its viewers into thinking that she has achieved this goal. Fluency in a dozen languages or more!
Numerous monitors each show the artist giving a different speech in a different language. There are no subtitles. Sound levels are very low, you have to move close to hear clearly. The soundtracks together form a sort of murmur, punctuated by occasional bursts of laughter or applause.
Utilising images, sound and video footage from SPEECH, the artist's collaborative performances abroad, Clare Charnley explores her relationship with her mother language (English) and what happens when it is withdrawn.
Footage from all twelve SPEECH performances is presented here together, and to English audiences for the first time.