Shona Illingworth
Calling – a’ gairm
15 September - 21 October 2001

Calling – a' gairm is the first of a series of related films, video and sound works exploring communication by voice over distance, both physical, cultural, social and political. Set in Finland, a lone man calls out across a great expanse and intimate distance, his voice constantly slipping between English and Gaelic as the narrative thread builds, cuts and repeats to create a tightly scored interplay between voice, language and silence.

Filling the gallery with a persistent sound switching from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from the comprehensible to the meaningless, this installation produced an uncanny sense of fighting power forces. Language as carrier of history reveals the deepest conflicts between a dominant and a dying culture, the inner dialogue of a single man as epitome of a wider cultural and social condition.


In this installation Illingworth has explored how suppression of a language by a dominant culture can affect ones’ sense of self and create a sense of dislocation – geographical, cultural, political.