Open House is a short speech and movement score for 10-60 people. Using verbatim text from the national parliament it makes a game of the metaphors of political debates. If political speech is used to choreograph citizens, can that state-wide choreography be applied to a small crowd? And how might that crowd start to take control?
I was interested to discover that Haringey has a designated free speech area outside of Haringey Library so I put in a Freedom of Information request to find out more:
Ed Milliband has been standing on a wooden pallet to make some high street speeches in the run up to the local elections. Something the Daily Mail describes as “cutting a rather ridiculous figure”.
Today David Cameron has been “setting out proposals designed to deter citizens of other EU and non-EU countries from coming to Britain in order to take advantage of the NHS and the welfare system.” This speech is a useful case study of how speeches are staged and how audiences are just part of the choreography.
Eva Percy, part of the Speeching research group, writes about her recent visit to the House of Commons.
On the evening of the 25th February I had the privilege to enter into Parliament. Within the Parliament buildings there was a sense of authority and importance, a sense of power. The infrastructure oozed history, as it dawned on me that within these buildings history was made. Individuals walked with determination and vigour. As I walked through Westminster Hall, on my way to the House of Commons, I felt awe and amazement wash through me. As I went to collect my ticket for access into the Special Gallery, I felt excitement and curiosity.
Speeching is a project to find different ways to understand political speeches, not just with our eyes, ears and brains, but by using all of our bodies.
Speeching comes from a wider interest of mine in understanding democratic politics from the perspective of the body – what actually happens physically when we vote, when we demonstrate or when we sign a petition? Perhaps by understanding – or even changing – democratic politics at this level we can find new ways of doing things before we can think of them rationally.