I am The Speaker is an idea finding its way into a variety of different renditions, all of which are inspired by the fear of public speaking.
The most recent occurrence happened when I first arrived at The Ohio State University and all the graduate students presented their work to each other. I prerecorded my presentation and had the audio track playing out of my mouth leaving me free to navigate my images and absorb the experience. I was thinking of this idea for some time and it seemed like the right time and place to try it out. After the presentation, I felt like a dog frightened by its own bark, slightly embarrassed and unsure how it was received. It’s interesting how solutions to problems create new problems or more frequently amplify the original problem.
The year previous to the aforementioned experience I made a sculpture titled Repeater which housed a microphone in its ear and a speaker in the mouth–It repeated everything it heard.
An even earlier rendition was The Speakers (Suit), which was initially used in a performance/presentation of the I am Chris Purdie project at Utah Valley University’s Visual Arts lecture series. For the lecture there was a panel of five “Chris’s” with microphones that were wired to the suit, the idea was that everything they spoke would amplify through the suit—they are speaking but I am The Speaker.