Friday, 27 September 2013

Landscape II

Tramway, Glasgow
Four stars
The silence, when it comes at the end of Melanie Wilson's hauntingly 
intense multi-media monologue, speaks volumes about how much Wilson's 
unique oeuvre is about sound as much as vision. Wilson enters in 
darkness, sitting behind an antique kitchen table on which sits a 
laptop, a microphone and other electronic kit from which Wilson 
generates and performs her intricately controlled soundscape that 
accompanies her ornately chosen words. Such a set-up hints at how past 
will meet present in what follows, with Wilson's words delivered into 
the microphone with a cut-glass precision that turns her voice into 
another instrument.

Wilson's first-person narrative is told by Vivien, a photo-journalist 
trying to get her head together in the country following her 
experiences in a middle-eastern war-zone. In the solitary cottage she 
confines herself in, she finds a journal written by her great-great 
grand-mother in the summer of 1899. At the same time, Vivien becomes 
equally haunted by a woman she met in the middle-east, and who, despite 
the woman being hidden behind a burka, she became friends with until 
the woman is hunted down and rounded up just as much as the fox who 
scratches at Vivien's door, also seeking sanctuary.

This is accompanied by the sumptuous film projections of Will Duke, who 
puts Wilson up hill, down dale and besides rocks and streams as 
disembodied chorales and noises from the natural world complete the 
picture. Beguilingly told, Wilson's story is a delicately woven yarn 
that's part ghost story, part purging and part emancipation as Vivien 
rediscovers her voice through the women who went before her in this 
quietest of call to arms imaginable.

The Herald, September 27th 2013

ends


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