I – Sound Etiquette

To be legible is to be readable.
To be legible is to be coded and contained.
Often when asked an uncomfortable
question, or faced with an unsettling
reality, the rattled respondent ducks
and dives with a stammer, a mumble, a
sweat, a scrawl, or a nervous tic. The
respondent may not be lying, but
neither may [they] be interested in
offering a captive legible truth either to
the interrogator or in response to
[their] own circumstances.
Raqs Media Collective
Seepage, Sternberg Press, 2010
So often, illegible statements are considered illegitimate. “If I can’t understand your words, how can they be truthful?” Sound Etiquette tests this assumption by showcasing recent works by Sonia Boyce, Christine Sun Kim, and Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay.
Through song, babble, slam poetry, and soundless closed-captioning, these three video-based artworks unravel social norms associated with sonic communication. In situations where comprehensible language proves to be insufficient — too linear, too gendered, too exclusionary — these artists turn to methods of communication that are more forgiving.
— Amanda Shore
Curator in Residence, Centre for Art Tapes