A Tale of A Tub

Saturday, May 4, 2024

5:00 – 8:00 PM

Exhibition Opening: The Lips of History

Join us for the opening of The Lips of History, an exhibition featuring Pelumi Adejumo, Bia Davou, Hazel Meyer & Cait McKinney, Olga Micińska, Kirsten Pieroth, Atsuko Tanaka and the Houweling Telecommuseum

With the soft buzz of radio static in the background, A Tale of A Tub opens The Lips of History—an exhibition transmitting various histories and untold tales of telecommunications. Forming the backbone of this story, are materials, objects and machines on loan from the Houweling Telecommuseum—a small volunteer-run museum in the north of Rotterdam housed in a former telephone exchange, whose collection spans telecommunications from 1880 to 2010. Then, intertwined throughout the exhibition, as cables do, are contributions both newly commissioned and pre-existing from six artists and duos who are, in one way or another, busy with navigating and interrogating the networks and inventions responsible for the distribution of language, image and sound. From subversive interferences to abstract interceptions and censorship-evading inscriptions, The Lips of History is both a speculative and informational retelling of the advent of mass communication—and the ways in which this supposed ‘public’ utility has determined who gets to speak, and when.

With A Tale of A Tub located some mere metres from Marconiplein—a public square named after the man credited with inventing the radio—this focus on communication technologies brings with it the chance for us to reconsider our own modes of communication, given that this exhibition marks the first project of the new directorship. As such, and as a newly established staple of the forthcoming program, we are additionally excited to launch our quarterly bulletin. The bulletins will be a vehicle for a corresponding writing program, through which people from a range of professional and personal backgrounds will be invited to write the exhibition text for each project—and to do so through the prism of their own research and experience, rather than as a direct reflection on or explanation of the project in question. Our bulletins will be distributed to the surrounding neighbourhood and available in the space, doubling as both a place for the community to meet and as a revised take on the standard exhibition text format. As the inaugural contributor, artist and academic Cait McKinney reflects on the role of the telephone—its operators and activators—to plot out its significance within feminist and queer networks of self-organisation and expression.

Part of the exhibition

The Lips of History
May 4 – July 21, 2024


Guest writer: CAIT McKINNEY