Searchlights (Agora of cynics)


'For Lilt, Twang, Tremor, Stark and Hayden have produced a new surround sound work Searchlights - part public service announcement and part protest which includes a variety of dissonant rhythmical sounds, drumming and lyrics, forming a confused and contradictory public space. Agora of Cynics is based on a Greek architectural agora, a classical space of political assembly and a public

platform for speech. Often the agora was also the marketplace of the city. The three elements of the installation together explore who can speak and be seen in the polis, and which emotions or ways of speaking may be granted. Stark takes influence from the ancient greek kynics who were one of the few classical philosophical schools to operate outside of the institution and to be open to including women as equals, provided they relinquished material possessions and lived out in the street. Only property-owning men could speak in the agora, and the cynics responded by rejecting popular standards of etiquette. The agora columns are adorned with an array of strange, cartoon-like facial expressions. These expressions make reference to the ancient greek kynics, but also explore the development of modern cynicism which has quite different connotations and associated personality tropes. The facial expressions reinterpreted by Stark are based on those described in a text by Peter Sloterdijk called ‘In Search of Lost Cheekiness’ where he examines the counter tradition of the ancient kynics, and how polite decorum was replaced by mischievousness, public display of emotion and cheekiness. Stark’s faces play with the acceptability of expression in public life, where we often have to remain calm and appear in control, despite how we might really feel.'

extract from exhibition text by Ainslie Roddick (edited)

Title track 'Searchlights' written and performed by Donald Hayden and Susannah Stark

Audio mixing and mastering by Ronan Fay, Green Door Studios

Supported by the CCA, Glasgow and bb15 gallery, Austria

Installation photos by Alan Dimmick and bb15