Designed and built by Divine Southgate-Smith and Bence Magyarlaki, Towards Fragments is a large-scale acoustical sculpture and performative installation that gives room to three vocal acts of speech (performed by Bence Magyarlaki). First exhibited in Central Saint Martins, London (2017) as part of an ongoing investigation, the installation aims to dissect the paradox present in the selfness/otherness of the speaking subject and the ontological wholeness of the “I”. Structural frameworks of language are thus employed as a means of introducing possible modes of representations of self whilst the spectator is invited to reflect on the role, which they often assume as the passive observer.
The role of the performer is to mediate the encounter between the viewer and the art object (apparatus), by not prescribing a fixed character of any specific subjectivity onto the object itself. The performer acts more as a technician, oiling the wheels of the machinery, tweaking it invisibly to his own way. The space that is mapped out by the apparatus require an active involvment from the audience's part, who becomes part of the structure and therefore also the performance. Although the apparatus orientates the viewer in some way, the technician’s actions always call for a re-orientation through the fragmentation and scattering of the acts of speech.
The monologues performed within the installation, attempt to deconstruct speech by revealing the pre-linguistic, the phonetic, the multilingual and abstract, or they simply reflect the absurdity of the given linguistic structure. There is a degree of playfulness present in this deconstructive vocal act as it has no exact beginning or end, and is rather always already present but only as loud as silence.
Southgate-Smith and Magyarlaki attempt to locate their work, individually and collaboratively at a cross section from a variety of disciplines ranging from Fine Art, Literature, Theatre and Architecture. Formally their work questions spectatorship by introducing spaces that not only blur the lines between the functions of architecture, performance and moving image but also acts as a critic to contemporary modes of visual representation and the categorization of the speaking subject. The works of Robert Morris, Jerzy Grotowski, Samuel Beckett and Jamaica Kincaid heavily influences the two of them.