Melanie Jackson, spekyng rybawdy, 2020. 4'14".

Melanie Jackson

spekyng rybawdy

13 November – 18 December 2020

MattFlix presents Melanie Jackson’s spekyng rybawdy (2020), a video work created for MattFlix and a book published by Procreate Project.

Spekyng RybawdyeMED s.v. “ribaudi” (n.), (b): “obscenity, scurrility, bawdry; coarse speech; an obscene story”;
DMLBS s.v. “turpiloquium” (n.): “foul or offensive speech.”

The video and book draw on a particular set of medieval “obscenities". Pilgrim Badges were small cast tin or lead alloy brooches that were mass-produced and easily affordable, and part of a vast and profitable pan-European trade. They are often discovered in the banks and the beds of its rivers. They are exquisite, rough-hewn and lively-sculpted reliefs. A group of these – of which little was written or acknowledged but many made and found - are known as the bawdy badges, or the secular badges, sexual badges, or the erotic pins. These badges delight in hybridity – an extravagant imaginary of social and sexual reproduction.

In spekyng rybawdy, a parade of these figures has been re-imagined and re-drawn reinstating their spectral effect with ink and pigment - to join once again in the public places that we currently have available to us, albeit at distance, where the eye and hand can wander in print as a succession of plates, and online as an animated assembly.

Being called a name - being reduced to one’s organs can be the site of injury, but that name-calling may be the initiating moment of a counter-mobilization…insurrectionary speech becomes the necessary response to injurious language, a risk taken in response to being put at risk, a repetition in language that forces change.

Judith Butler, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative, 1997

To find out more about the project or to purchase the book, click here.

Duration: 4:14