Akeroyd Collection


Sin Wai Kin, Illocutionary Utterances, 2018

Illocutionary Utterances focuses on the vocalization of words, the physicality of speech and the shape of the body in the act of giving voice to thought. This is a film about the speech act; a term from literary philosophy that defines an utterance, considered as an action, particularly with regard to its intention, purpose, or effect. The close-up video depicts lips as they enunciate and quiver through a monologue. They have lipstick and liner thickly applied in deep reds, long blonde hair is visible in the extremes of the cropped frame and we see flashes of jewel-encrusted earrings. Two painted beauty spots move as the person speaks. The movement of this face is not in-sync with the voiceover, however. There is a separation between what we see and what we hear. The voiceover is a calm narration, accompanied by a soft electronic music composition, an echoey thudding bass at a low heart-rate tempo giving a bodily pace to the film. It is unclear if the person we see is singing or if they are shouting. The snarling quivering pauses are either impassioned moments between verse or pauses for breath and calm in a sea of rage. If we could hear them would we hear song or violence? In either case, it would be at odds with the quiet affirmations of the narrator that calls identity into being through their confident constitutive utterances to the self. The disjunction in the signification of meaning and words – the semiotic basis of speech act theory - becomes a larger metaphor for the confusion of gender signifiers that play out within the film. For all the visual codes of feminine identity present, the narrator ends with the repeated refrain, ‘I am not a woman’.

MediumHD Video, single-channel
Duration5 minutes and 54 seconds
Edition2 of 5 + 2 APs