Town Hall Meeting of the Air is an exhibition and broadcast programme conceived by Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston that thinks about the poetics of civic gathering and public political discourse.
Collaboratively developed since 2018 and throughout current social restrictions, Town Hall Meeting of the Air looks at how architecture shapes public gathering and language. The focus on the sensory and material experience of gathering, eulogises the silences, stutterings and physical proximity lost in digitally mediated togetherness.
Liston and Denman-Cleaver’s text and installation draw from research into ancient assembly sites, abandoned parliaments, radio broadcast history and the experimental and politicised writings of Gertrude Stein. Town Hall Meeting of the Air uses these starting points, in the context of a global pandemic, to hope for alternative forms of collectivity.
The exhibition also hosts work by Anna Barham and collaborators Rosie Morris & Taryn Edmonds and James Newrick. Alongside the exhibition, a temporary internet radio station will broadcast a series of live events and archive content including performances of Liston and Denman-Cleaver’s text The Hundreds, a 52 hour marathon broadcast of Anna Barham & Irene Revell’s project They are all of them themselves and they repeat it and I hear it: A yearlong reading of Gertrude Stein's 'The Making of Americans', and recordings of the original America’s Town Meeting of the Air radio show (1935-1956).
The artists would like to thank Jemma Hind for her contribution to the research and design of the exhibition during lockdown.