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University of Cambridge

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Book Tickets

Open: Tuesday–Sunday, 11am–5pm

We are closed on Bank Holiday Mondays

Please note the house will be temporarily closed for 4 weeks from 14 March 2024

Exhibition

AS SO CI ATIONS

20 November – 9 January 2011

AS SO CI ATIONS was an exhibition of film and video works curated by Tanya Leighton that explored the porous relationship between word and image.

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The title of the exhibition came from John Smith’s 1975 film ‘Associations’, in which an authoritative male voice reads a passage fromWord Associations and Linguistic Theory by Herbert H. Clark. As the commentary progresses, images torn from magazines flash rapidly onto the screen, each depicting something seemingly unrelated to the voiceover. The effect is to highlight the slippery relationship between word and image.

AS SO CI ATIONS included films, projections and installations with artists drawing on a wide variety of raw material from magazines and colour supplements to film theory and linguistics. Michael Snow stretched the definition of what film is in his 1982 film ‘So Is This’. Each shot was simply a single, tightly-framed word in white letters set against a black background that created ‘a kind of moving concrete poetry’. Re-speaking, re-telling, re-combining words and moving images to transform reality in various ways, the works encouraged visitors to reflect on the subversive potential of language in film and the boundaries between documentary and fiction.

Other works explored gaps in the relationship between language and history. Matthew Buckingham’s slide installation, ‘Definition’, re-presented the room in which Samuel Johnson wrote the first English dictionary to question how language evolves. ‘Symbionese Liberation Army’ (SLA) was an installation by Sharon Hayes in which the artist ‘respeaks’ the audio tapes Patty Hearst made following her kidnapping in 1974.

Artists

Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Büchler, Matthew Buckingham, Sharon Hayes, John Smith, Michael Snow

Gallery