Eve Fowler: Words Doing As They Want To Do LP (Radical Documents, 2018)

July 18, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Eve Fowler: Words Doing As They Want To Do LP

Photographer Eve Fowler is known for producing works which incorporate the words of Gertrude Stein, often blowing them up on to large, stark, colorful posters. This LP was created for Fowler’s first major European exhibition, and it contains unaccompanied readings of two Stein works, recited by several readers taking turns, speaking clearly but very occasionally fumbling. The first side, “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene”, is a 1925 poem which contains the first published usage of the word “gay” referring to sexual orientation, and is believed to have helped popularize the term. The piece is very repetitive, with the word “gay” being used well over 100 times, and it seems like a sort of word game, exploring every last approach to the ideas it’s conveying. But the words “regular” and “regularly” also crop up a lot, and the characters seem to be doing normal, everyday things (or not really doing things, just being, and being happy), so it drives home the point of the normality of being gay. It’s definitely something that should be heard, but its repetition could verge on being tedious. On the other side is “Q.E.D”, a short story written in 1903 but published after Stein’s death. It’s an autobiographical story about coming out, and it’s much more complex and affecting than the poem on the first side. In fact, while listening to it, it’s kind of mind-blowing that it was written over a century ago, as every sentiment spoken is entirely relevant and relatable today.

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