Foaming at the Mouth
Foaming at the Mouth Number Seven
- August 15th
- All Ireland Polo Club, Phoenix Park
- Curated by Tracy Hanna and Emer Lynch
Being extremely intrigued by all things that fuse the spoken word and visual art, I was very excited about finally getting to a Foaming at the Mouth event. Foaming at the Mouth, curated by Tracy Hanna and Emer Lynch, is described as a visual art spoken word event. It could be seen as the visual art world’s answer to the increasing amount of spoken word and poetry open mic nights happening in Dublin. It is a platform for a different kind of live performance art, which focuses less on the body and more on the voice.
Foaming at the Mouth number seven was held on the evening of the 15th of August in the slightly off the beaten track for most people location of the All Ireland Polo Club in the Phoenix Park. Those performing on the night included Naomi Sex, Philip Napier, Pádraic E Moore, Tanad Williams, Emma Haugh, Mary-Jo Gilligan and Katherine MacBride. The seven performances were diverse and yet a thread of similarity ran through them all. The performers spoke about being human. Whether this meant being human emotionally, physically or sexually.
Philip Napier’s is the performance that stuck out for me. He performed a monolog, which told the story of how one gets from being a living, breathing, thinking being to being a ready-made microwaveable meal. Before Napier came out on stage a box was handed around to the audience of those small blue-grey road chip stones. The audience was instructed to put them in our mouths. Sucking at a stone is an odd sensation and one has to constantly remember not to swallow it. On stage, Napier dressed in a suit, began his monolog, about a relative who had died on the fields of Flanders during World War One and his search to find their grave or a piece of them. He also begun to talk about dental records, which made me think that the stone was supposed to be a missing tooth, rattling about our mouths. Subsequently, Napier explained that soldiers used to suck on stones to keep their mouths moist. He did lots of research in trying to find his dead relative and discovered that the soldiers had all been buried on the battleground where they had fallen. Years later, after the war, when these battle fields had become very fertile, he told us that a company begun to grow vegetables on them. After a while, this company expanded into the ready meal market. At this point Napier revealed a microwave, which had been lying under a sheet, on a plinth in the centre of the stage. He had come to the conclusion that the only pieces left of his relative were likely to be in the ready-made meals that this Belgian company sold. He presented one of these meals, placed it in the microwave and switched it on. When the meal was cooked and the microwave went ‘Bing!’, Napier left the stage. This performance, summed up the brilliant jewels that can happen when visual art meets spoken word, how a nugget of alternative theatre can ensue.
Other great nuggets throughout the evening included Tanad Williams (main image above), who performed a piece in near darkness. A mix of live and recorded spoken word, with the sound of a horse eating something like an apple. The chomping of a big mouth on a crunchy thing resonated throughout the room. He spoke of the digestive system, saying he felt like a doughnut – empty in the middle. Another interesting piece came from Mary-Joe Gilligan. She spoke of the listening field of the room, the world of objects and our connection as humans to it. She lead the audience out of the Polo Club bar, into warm, pine scented darkness and on to the pitch, asking us to feel our surroundings and ‘Come further into the field of primitive man…pre-literate man’. Though this performance was intriguing, it was a smidge too much like a speech about mindfulness. The final performance, by Pádraic E Moore, lifted the audience out of the though provoking, reflectiveness of all the previous performances. Moore presented us with some light-hearted karaoke, film clips and information about scientology. Revealing through such a mash up, the oddness of human culture and leaving many in the audience laughing. A good end note.
The event proved interesting. For me, it illustrated the way artists (and people in general) tend to think. That being, there is no beginning, middle or end to their ideas. They begin, using a previous idea, they segue from one thought to the next, down many roads, loop back a couple of times and draw an unexpected conclusion that leads to the next idea. Creativity is often non-linear. Foaming at the Mouth number seven illustrated this processes of creativity perfectly. I look forward to what comes next for Tracy Hanna, Emer Lynch and Foaming at the Mouth.
Words: Roisin Power Hackett