In 2007 a series of white British actors with RP pronunciation responded to a call by Laura Malacart to donate an hour of their time for her project Voicings. She asked each actor to learn a script penned by a refugee. Each text has been a testimony to an instance of linguistic difficulty, as they are forced to exist in a new language. Voicings (Italy) was commissioned by Radio Papesse and works with the applied methodology of Voicings to enable a socio-linguistic exploration of the economic migration of Santa Croce, an Italian village on the outskirts of Florence. In this area more than half of the children currently born are foreign, such large immigration being justified by the lasting presence of the tannery industry. Economic migrants are employed in this industry because the factories require hard labour in less than ideal conditions with high temperatures and heavy labour. Voicings uses field research and testimonies written by immigrants, whose texts are performed through the vocal experimentations of professional actors who grapple with errors or new linguistic constructions, at times highly poetic, penned by the immigrants. The outcome is a 30-minute continuous radio piece that weaves vocalisations and testimonies in a continuous narrative. Language, context and form generate a considerably different experience from that of Voicings UK, a video work whose content was provided by refugees in London addressing integration.
Laura Malacart is a research-based visual artist working in a range of media including text, performance to video and participatory installation. Often using an interface that intersects pedagogy and performance, she explores questions of identity – particularly how ideology shapes social identity and the production of the other. She focuses on languages and the voice and conceives them politically within a historically conscious framework.