Cally Spooner – ‘DEAD TIME: Narrator’s Script’


Thu, 18 February 2021 - Fri, 30 April 2021


Online -

Further info

Cost: Free


Type: Event

Design: Maeve Redmond

Opening with silence, or more accurately with the absence of action, Cally Spooner’s ‘DEAD TIME: Narrator’s Script’ (2019-2021) introduces the listener to an altered sense of time in which no major event nor narrative development takes place. The script is one element drawn from Spooner’s 63-page performance score ‘DEAD TIME’ (2018) which she has been incrementally translating through live performance and installation since composing it in Autumn 2018.

The ‘DEAD TIME’ score is set in “a surveillance-capitalist crime scene” where an absurdist ecosystem of living and non-living characters co-exist in a resistant, pervading present-tense atmosphere; waiting, rehearsing, repeating, yet never quite converging.

The Narrator is both a single male voice and solo piano. Ruminating on faltering immune systems, unstable financial markets, corporate feminism and #MeToo, the Narrator’s composite of pirated language and attenuated silences is met with a regimented bleep-beat and the timed swell of piano repeating the theme tune from a Netflix TV show.

Through this loosely improvisational structure, the reading, like the ‘DEAD TIME’ score as a whole, seeks to hold a space that remains resistant to ‘chrononormativity’ – the imperial, masculinist standardisation of time that orders labour, performance, and digital technologies into a progressive future-orientated linearity.

This particular reading was recorded with a live audience at Camden Arts Centre, London, on the 11th March 2020. In a convergence of events, this took place on the day social distancing was introduced in the UK, setting in motion a collective state of pause.

In her sound edit for The Common Guild, Spooner pivots the listener’s focus towards a very uncomfortable captive audience on the cusp of dramatic societal shift and a year of intermittent captivity. The soundtrack of the room and the audible tension of bodies gathered together brings a palpable clarity to the reading; both staging and activating a state of dead time, testing this as a potential to reset neoliberal temporalities of productivity and liveliness.

Listeners should experience ‘ DEAD TIME’: Narrator’s Script’ whilst walking, working or engaging in other activity. We recommend listening with headphones.

Part of ‘In the open’ – Series II

Recording Credits
The piano is played by Neil Luck.
The voice is Jesper List Thomsen.
Sound Mix by Tom Sedgwick.
Mastering by Stephan Mathieu / Schwebung Mastering.

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