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Carey Young's "Speechcraft" this Friday

Carey Young, performance view of "Speechcraft", 2007.
Carey Young, performance view of "Speechcraft", 2007.Via the artist's website.

Carey Young: Speechcraft
6:30pm Friday 9 May 2008
42 44th St New York, NY

Carey Young has, since the end of her formal training as an artist and photographer, worked professionally in various capacities in the corporate world of public speaking and relations. While Young does not insist that this professional work is a direct part of her larger creative project, it has has without question greatly influenced and informed her artistic production. Young often wears a "power suit" in her performance videos and adapts a highly stylized Euro-American corporate language to both communicate and subvert meaning and work towards creating sites of transparency from within the institutions and exhibition venues she occupies. In works like the 2001 I am a Revolutionary for instance, Young undergoes an intensive three day public speaking seminar in order to deliver a speech ending with the eponymous locution. The finished product is a short video that captures an excerpt from this training process, emphasizing the banality and instrumentalization of language that happens in an expanded commercial playing field that, like contemporary art, has all but negated its own boundaries with regards to what can be repurposed and utilized to ensure that money continues to change hands. Other works by Young originate from a more 90s variety of institutional critique, in which organizational transparency and the strategies for its manifestation are the prime in creative currency. Color Guide, a 2004 comission that the artist completed for Index Foundation on Stockholm, in one such example, filtering the light passing through one of the gallery windows with a grid of the Corbis Corporation's suggested range of colors to be depicted by their freelance stock photographers. An earlier work, Nothing Ventured, is an installation that presents exhibition visitors with a telephone and sitting arrangements where they may pick up and communicate with a non-specialist call center operator hired to represent the artist and provide basic biographical and exhibition information, as well as potentially more interpretive, analytic information if questioned. In this work the usually obscured role of the artist's exhibitor as representative is put in competition with a more emphatic, visible presence created by the artist herself.

This Thursday Carey Young will present Speechcraft, a recently completed collaborative performance with Toastmasters International, a group dedicated to the development of public speaking skills. The performance is part of Hey Hey Glossolalia, a series of free events in New York City this may curated by Mark Beasely and produced by Creative Time. The performance is described on the artist's website as follows:

Speechcraft features a meeting of the international public speaking club Toastmasters . Widely used by businesspeople as well as trainee lawyers and politicians, Toastmasters helps people from all walks of life to construct their public presence so that they look and sound like ‘leaders’. In the first commission of this piece the work was hosted by the Oxford Toastmaster club Isis Speakers.

Speechcraft is a performance work which takes a Toastmaster meeting as a readymade performative situation. The artist inserts specific subject matter for speakers to respond to by giving an impromptu speech. In this version of the work, the subject matter given to the speakers were all objects from Carey Young's studio which she personally finds inspiring.

As with every Toastmaster meeting, all the resulting speeches were judged and evaluated by other Toastmaster members, as well as the audience, in a cycle of inspiration, review, and reward.

Tickets to the event are free, but may be reserved here.