Phoebe Collings-James presents a sound session accompanied by a screening of Mother Tongue, Mother Master. Moving beyond a binary, and into poetics or fission for subversion, the 16mm video work Mother Tongue, Mother Master exposes the erotics of shame and the axis it bares within the body. The voice is bound by constraints put onto the body and its histories, different modes for a voice reach for the possibility of a subjecthood, of agency, resistance in slippery blackness, from the starting point of born objecthood, commodity.
Phoebe Collings-James mends this sentiment to her film Mother Tongue, Mother Master (2018). Filmed from her shoulders up, the artist wears identical little bells tied to the red plastic of a bag to hold some sort of citrus. The bag lightly pushes her face inward, her neck balancing, she shakes her head and it becomes clear that there is a parallax between the soundtrack and her movements, yet somehow they feel completely connected. As she moves her head back and forth, forward and backward, moving the bells swinging in unsealed unison, it becomes hard to tell if she is drowning out the soundtrack or if it is drowning out her. She continues to let the bells move freely, opening and closing her mouth, feeling the weight of the bells and then suddenly, as the soundtrack wanes so too does Collings-James, until she takes off the instrument.
- Rindon Johnson