Everything You've Heard is Wrong

1999. Single channel video. 6 mins 35 secs (looped).
Commissioned by the Photographers' Gallery, London.


This piece is a video of a performance by the artist held at Speakers' Corner, London in the midst of the traditional Sunday mayhem of speakers and onlookers. Dressed in a smart business suit, the artist gives a skills workshop on successful corporate-style communication. The video records her impassioned performance as well as the reactions of the temporary crowd of onlookers.

Speaker's Corner has a long history in the public imagination, whether as a popular site for political demonstrations or as a symbol for unregulated free speech. It is a location renowned for entertainment, madness, and outrage, but particularly for extremes of religious or political belief. Today it appears somewhat an anachronism, with the almost biblical feeling of a souk. Passion, anger and laughter run high among this temporary community. Emotion and conviction are on the surface in a rather unfashionable way: this is not the apathy or irony of the times. Yet despite this sense of a backwards connection with history, the site is a model for the sort of free speech supposedly so central to the 'information age'. Communication flows freely here, without the mediation of machines.