‘Sticks And Stones Will Break My Bones, But Words Can Totally Destroy My Mind!’ is a new exhibition by artist and writer Jenny Hickinbotham, staged as part of Liquid Architecture’s annual Sound Series program at BLINDSIDE.
Opening Thu, 7. Apr 2022, 6–8pm
Performances, Sat, 9. Apr 2022, 4–6pm
See Below for More Details
Jenny Hickinbotham’s work encompasses writing, video, sculpture, and songs. This exhibition features a series of experimental song-poems, performed unaccompanied by the artist in her home, in Gisborne, regional Victoria, and presented in the form of a video, produced in collaboration with Joel Stern and Carmen-Sibha Keiso.
In these performances Hickinbotham inhabits multiple voices, perspectives and temporalities as she explores the epigenetic impacts of trauma, and the narratives of individuals swept up by the forces of history, institutions, and the places in which they live. Laced with humour, pathos, searing critique, and a powerful imagistic capacity, the songs are profoundly informed by the artist’s own childhood experiences, which resulted in diagnoses of developmental trauma, complex post traumatic stress culminating in the schizophrenia label in early adulthood. Jenny has ‘heard voices’ for most of her life and her work explores her ongoing struggle to challenge the institutional pathologising of these experiences. Understanding these internal voices, listening, giving meaning to them, singing them, and considering their relation to the ghosts of the past and present, is a preoccupation of Hickinbotham’s work.
Hickinbotham writes: ‘I really want to challenge the notion that ‘hearing voices’ is an illness, needing to be controlled, eradicated and sedated into oblivion, thereby reducing the person’s lived experience to denial and inner pain, forcing the person to live on/feed on that internal pain for the rest of their lives, unable to speak their truth or tell their story. My work pushes back against all this. It is a cathartic expression of exploratory story-telling, and in itself a form of recovery.’
Meet the artists, Jenny Hickinbotham and Babs Rapeport and Joel Stern, curator Sticks and Stones will Break my Bones but Words can Totally Destroy my Mind!
Enjoy a drink and a card-exchange with others of the same ilk.
Join artists Jenny Hickinbotham and Babs Rapeport for an afternoon of music and conversation at BLINDSIDE in celebration of their concurrent exhibitions across the gallery’s two spaces. Hickinbotham will perform songs featured in her video work, ‘Sticks And Stones Will Break My Bones, But Words Can Totally Destroy My Mind!’ accompanied on double bass by one of Australia’s leading improvisors, Samuel Pankhurst. She invites audience members to sing along, following printed lyric sheets, ‘in support of everyone troubled and contained by trauma and experiences of emotional distress.’
Rapeport will riff on their exhibition ‘I didn’t go to art school but I did go to Socialist-Zionist summer camp’, sharing anecdotes of the informal education they received and taught on bi-annual Jewish youth Movement camps through song, video and text.
Every year since 2014 BLINDSIDE has invited Liquid Architecture to organise an exhibition under the banner ‘Sound Series’ by artists working in experimental ways with sound and listening. Featured artists have included Anthony Riddell, Félicia Atkinson, Gerard Crewdson, Matt Earle and Bridget Chappell among others.
Jenny Hickinbotham would like to thank Joel Stern and Debris Facility at Liquid Architecture, Mikala Dwyer at RMIT, Martina Copley at BLINDSIDE, and Rudi Williams, Carmen-Sibha Keiso, James Rushford, Mish Szekelyhidi and Steph Treesea for their support in the production of this work. This commission is supported by the City of Melbourne, and Liquid Architecture's Experiments Fund.
CITY OF MELBOURNE
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