Best records of 2020

Hanne LippardWork
Collapsing Market, 2020

Lippard is an artist of some international acclaim, and as far as we’re aware ‘Work’ is her first recorded sound document available commercially. In it she takes a variety of empty, seemingly meaningless texts from Wiki pages, corporate websites, spam mail, museum FAQ’s etc and reenacts them vocally with some stylistic and semantic interventions.  Her monologues take the texts out of cold states and into something that’s perhaps even more ambiguous – repetition, metre, intonation and the rhythm of the language itself all become tools for manipulation. One reading is intimate. The next, alienating. But why, and how?

In part, ‘Work’ serves as a form of basic social commentary – illustrating just how mundane, repetitive and detached our lives have become in the digital age. But there is a deeper dissection of the human condition at play as well; the moments of vulnerability dotted throughout suddenly shift the emphasis and effect into a form of personal, almost sensual communication – despite the lack of meaning. Sometimes, it feels as though a fourth wall is broken – as if Lippard’s automaton is all of a sudden addressing you directly. The effect of this is unsettling, the out-of body dimension enhanced by the medium –  making this a fascinating and surprisingly moving look into the uncanny properties of the spoken word.