Too Prolix: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

24 Jan 2015 – 1 Feb 2015

Cost of entry


Five Years

London, United Kingdom


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The exhibition is one manifestation of a research project by Steve Klee investigating human agency with, or against, ‘material conditions’, re-performing and re-examining the rhetoric of workers disputes in the British Royal Dockyards of the Eighteenth century.


The exhibition is one manifestation of a research project that draws inspiration from contemporary philosophy and its ongoing struggle to define human agency with, or against, ‘material conditions’. The show includes video documentation of a performance, realised this summer. This piece took workerdisputes in British Royal Dockyards of the Eighteenth century as indicative of the wider social upheavals within Europe of that time. Was the exorbitant rhetoric of the dockyard workers, their prolixity, evidence of ‘Jacobean influence’? I thought so, and emphasised the workers’ evasion of their social destiny by having their words performed in the mannered gestural acting style associated with the C18 elite. Every turn of the head or hand movement conveyed a meaning…

Let’s shift the frame. What if rhetoric does not, only, perform, but can touch the real, indexing matter? A matter not lifeless in comparison with the excitements of human activity and intensity, but rather, one that deserves to be thought on the same ontological plane. Is the historical narrative of the breakup of the ancientregime as much of an object as the appropriated museum mannequin I intend to exhibit?

It would seem that rhetoric (representation), either as performance, or index is the key term; perhaps it is time to think through its definition once more…

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Exhibiting artists

Steve Klee


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