Calling - a'gairm

Shona Illingworth

Archive Exhibitions (15 September to 21 October 2001)
Calling – a' gairm is the first of a series of related films, video and sound works exploring communication by voice over distance, both physical, cultural, social and political. Set in Finland, a lone man calls out across a great expanse and intimate distance, his voice constantly slipping between English and Gaelic as the narrative thread builds, cuts and repeats to create a tightly scored interplay between voice, language and silence.
Filling the gallery with a persistent sound switching from the familiar to the unfamiliar, from the comprehensible to the meaningless, this installation produced an uncanny sense of fighting power forces. Language as carrier of history reveals the deepest conflicts between a dominant and a dying culture, the inner dialogue of a single man as epitome of a wider cultural and social condition.

In this installation Illingworth has explored how suppression of a language by a dominant culture can affect ones’ sense of self and create a sense of dislocation – geographical, cultural, political.

About The Artist

Shona Illingworth is an artist filmmaker whose major works take the form of immersive gallery based multi-screen video and multi-channel sound installation. Her work combines interdisciplinary research (particularly with emerging neuropsychological models of memory and amnesia, critical approaches to memory studies, media sociology and human rights law) with socially engaged practice.

Her work has been exhibited internationally, with shows at the Imperial War Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, Bologna; FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology), Liverpool; UNSW Galleries, Sydney and the Wellcome Collection, London. She has received commissions from Film and Video Umbrella, Hayward Gallery, London, and Channel 4 Television. Upcoming solo exhibitions include the Bahrain National Museum 2020 and The Power Plant, Toronto, 2021. Shona was shortlisted for the 2016 Jarman Award and is an Imperial War Museum Associate, Trustee of Project Art Works and sits on the editorial board of Digital War (

Composite copy
Photoworks uk


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