Extreme Centre

Audio installation
Media: 32 speakers, 2 pro amplifiers, 16 cd players, fabric covered built walls
Dimensions: 77 sq. m

Extreme Centre is an audio installation in the form of a maze. As visitors negotiate the twisting passages, they hear a cacophony of whispering, issued from speakers set into the passage walls. The sound of whispering ushers visitors along the passages but also engenders a range of reactions from unease, insecurity and paranoia to intimacy and the conspiratorial. Concentrating on individual speakers, the listener can then decipher text, sourced from a range of authors across vast geographies, epochs and political positions. The common denominator of all the text is the arguable categorization of “extreme.”

“Extreme” is a term that is defined as being unreasonable, abnormal or unacceptable, far out from the centre of a civil society, even incendiary. However, the term is almost always applied by others rather than by a group labeling itself. Authors whose words are labeled “extreme” position themselves in a self-defined centre.

The use of the oxymoron “extreme centre” is intended to focus on this contradiction. The words of individuals as disparate as Idi Amin Dada, Steven Biko, Catherine the Great, Dayglo Abortions, Marquis de Sade, David Duke, Louis Farrakhan, Herman Hesse, Mahatma Gandhi, Heinrich Himmler, Abbie Hoffman, Ho Chi Minh, Marin Luther King Jr., Genghis Khan, Nikita Khrushchev, Charles Manson, F.T. Marinetti, Golda Meir, Augusto Pinochet, Plato, Pol Pot, Jean-Paul Sartre, Sex Pistols, Bob Dylan, Gloira Steinem, Valerie Solanas, Leon Trotsky, François Truffaut, Oscar Wilde and Emiliano Zapata are juxtaposed with one another in the shifting, morphing, clashing and merging of political and philosophical convictions. The only stability of the centre is its constant state of flux.