Why do you never speak? (12-27 May 2018) presents two art commissions informed by T S Eliot’s famous poem The Waste Land (1922).


Harriet Gifford’s new immersive sound installation draws on voices of the multiple characters found in Eliot’s text and layers readings by community members into a difficult, fragmented audio field. This methodology alludes to the almost impenetrable complexity of the poem and considers the intricacies of the intellectual property of the long dead, authorship of reciters, new interpretations and dissemination of old works. No voice is inviolable.

In the What is that noise? recordings, the words are hollowed out and the usually muted ambient sounds, involuntary sighs and subject noises are preserved, rattling as the ‘stony rubbish’ and ‘a heap of broken images’ in the poem. Eliot’s rich language is squeezed dry, coherence and understanding are thwarted - these are the characteristics of The Waste Land as a piece of modern literature, a state of mind and a state of the world that reverberate through Harriet Gifford’s piece.


Susan Turcot’s site-specific sculptural installation and diverse exploratory public program a circle closed on the outside bring participants into a social ‘laboratory’ in which the intertwined crisis of self and landscape will be collectively investigated alongside methods of recovery. The project space is shielded by a curved wooden wall of doors and boxes - the boxes are used as sets for scenes designed by the artist and members of the public using plastic waste.

The work will further evolve during the two weeks in May as Turcot offers experimental drawing, object making and collective experience to provoke and activate a deeper sensitivity towards objects, their materials and histories. Evaded aspects of our local lived environments, such as nuclear and plastic waste, are put forward as ways are sought to summon microcosms of different imaginaries and stories.


Contributors to the evening program of talks, films and gatherings devised by the artist are:
Jo Henderson and sound designer Joao Cordeiro, writer Kevin Davey, actor Isabelle Defaut, Windmill Community Garden’s leader Jules Ellis, filmmaker Neil Henderson, performing duo Lunatraktors, a local activist group Plastic Free Whitstable, artist Sara Trillo, The Selkies, The Improvables Theatre Group, and lecturer/writer Dr Chris Wilbert.

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Saturday 12th May Evening with Jo Henderson and Joao Cordeiro
Sunday 13th May body casting
Monday 14th May portraiture session
Tuesday 15th May portraiture session kids' club
Wednesday 16th May group drawing Evening with Plastic Free Whitstable
Thursday 17th May portraiture session kids' club Evening with Kevin Davey
Friday 18th May portraiture session Evening led by Dr Chris Wilbert with guest participants
Saturday 19th May kids' club Evening with Neil Henderson and The Selkies
Sunday 20th May body casting Evening with Isabelle Defaut
Monday 21st May portraiture session
Tuesday 22nd May portraiture session
Wednesday 23rd May group drawing
Thursday 24th May portraiture session kids' club Evening with Sara Trillo
Friday 25th May portraiture session Evening with Lunatraktors
Saturday 26th May kids' club Evening Event with The Improvables Theatre Group
Sunday 27th May kids' club closing celebration


We would like to thank ART31, Beach Creative and The Whitstable Umbrella Centre for working with us on reaching wider audiences.