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Language is a Virus

by Murray Royston-Ward



In early 2016 I was invited to take part in an exhibition exploring post colonial narratives. The plan was to utilise DIY audio transducers to activate the window of the gallery as a speaker.

In 2015 my wife worked in Sierra Leone managing an Ebola Holding Centre. Her experiences highlighted numerous problematic narratives: the patient handling protocols themselves; racist and fundamentalist Christian histories; media exaggerations of ‘African-ness’; local acts of mistrust and misunderstanding.

Taking Burroughs’ suggestion that ‘language is a virus’ I worked on a tape cut up, using a wide range of sources and narratives surrounding Ebola, exploring the mutations and vectors of transmission for the ebola-word-virus.

The intention was for this cut-up to be played back, via a reel-to-reel tape player customised with a raspberryPi, into the window, radiating out of the gallery into the street.

Unfortunately the originally proposed exhibition fell through and this project, along with artist books produced to coincide with the show, has lay dormant.


released July 29, 2016




The House Organ Nottingham, UK

The House Organ is a DIY label for audio and other artefacts sounding across a spectrum of improvisation and noise, it takes a critical stance to digital-self-publishing whilst providing alternatives to dominant streaming and sharing models. For deep-thinkers who don't take themselves too seriously. ... more

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