Opposition @ ZOO Southside

One woman embodiment of a political system in meltdown

Feature by Lizzie Stewart | 21 Aug 2011

At the beginning of July this year, Charlie Brooker published a piece in the Guardian called ‘The Ed Milliband loop and the media reality deficit’, in which he analysed the emergence of a bizarre piece of footage: Ed Milliband mindlessly repeating the same answer over and over to five different questions posed by a baffled reporter.

Hannah Silva’s intelligent and thought-provoking performance piece reveals this to be no blip in the system, but a full on symptom of contemporary political discourse.

Using frenetic movement, vocal tics, a well-timed loop pedal, and some admittedly less convincing flute playing, Silva physically inserts her voice and body in the cracks between the words politicians say and their actual meaning. Cutting between political speeches, twitter, slogans from historical figures such as Thatcher and Reagan, and Sat Nav instructions, her embodiment of the schizophrenic nature of modern political discourse allows the utter emptiness and egoism at the heart of slogans such as ‘the Big Society’ to expose themselves. This, my friends, is old-school deconstruction put into intelligent and impassioned practice.

Admittedly, at times, the repetitions become a little, well, repetitive. What is so exciting about this piece, however, is not only its aesthetic references to theatrical traditions of opposition to existing norms, such as Dadaism, but the way in which these references combine with an real critique of a contemporary issue. Here opposition does not just mean choosing a different political party, another side, making another argument, but an intervention: a decision to change the very terms of the discussion.

Hannah Silva is in Opposition. Join her.

Until 28 Aug, 14.45

Zoo Southside

Also the Charlie Brooker article can be found here: