Mother Tongue

Tiffany Boyle introduces Mother Tongue as a research led curatorial project, giving an account of the origins of the collaboration in 2009 as a response to individual periods of research done in northern Scandinavia and West Africa. She begins by giving a background of projects and exhibitions they have produced collaborative including details of an up and coming exhibition curated for Stills gallery in Edinburgh called A Thousand of Him Scattered. Boyle states an objective for the talk to be of use to students and consequently focus on the earlier stages of their collaboration, to try and outline the decisions made ‘that brought us here’. She touches on the questions of absence and presence, visibility and invisibility, noise and silence, which are themes related to the research event with Gausden.

Given these themes Boyle relates the intention to speak both on projects that have happened and also on the more painful subject of failed proposals that have never materialized. After giving this structure, she speaks on Mother Tongue’s early research trajectory, evolving out of a core set of concerns around language, translation, cultural amnesia, indigenousness and collective memory. Carden picks up the thread to speak on an exhibition called Germans Speak German in the CCA going into detail about the questions of migration and nationalism that prompted the research. She details the practices of individual artists in the show and also the tactics through which the work itself migrated out the gallery context appearing on the street, radio and distributed through an essay series. She also discusses a creative lab residency with artist Craig Mullholland, which became a means to think through a new way to work with artists, expanding the idea of what curatorial practice means.

The second part of the talk listed the less visible aspects of their practice, the numerous failed project proposals, which involve them as curators in a strange occupation of speculative future time that often stutters or doesn’t unfold. Added to this frank unveiling of failure both curators spoke throughout on the precarious nature of their work in what could be considered the institutional cracks, including the lack of funding for curatorial work out with institutional support, which often saw their fees absorbed into project overheads or their time not acknowledged at all by regional funding structures. The talk ends with a question and answer session in order to further open up and demystify the curatorial process for students in the room.

Audio Title: 
Mother Tongue, Aberdeen
Audio Accession Number: 
HW. 001
Audio Speaker: 
Mother Tongue curatorial collective Tiffany Boyle and Jessica Carden
Audio Annotation: 
Mother Tongue spoke as part of the Guest @ Gray’s programme to undergraduate students
Audio Location: 
Gray’s School of Art, Robert Gordon University
Audio Date: 
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Audio Duration: 
Audio Type: 
Public Guest Talk
Audio Technical: 
Mostly clear, some background interference.
Audio Recording type: 
Zoom recording