Bath's Annual Fringe Visual Arts Festival
FAB is Baths only visual arts festival, we actively promote and celebrate contemporary art in the Bath area and beyond, showcasing early career artists and curators, and those who find it difficult to break into (or prefer to operate outside of) the gallery based art scene.
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On the tip of my tongue

Have you ever found yourself unable to find the right words? They’re on the tip of your tongue, but simply too difficult to say. This project explores the conversations we struggle to have and the things that we never say: expressions of love, money, poverty, confrontation, bereavement, disability, old age and breakdown of relationships. They maybe comical, life changing, heart-breaking or mundane.

These conversations often happen in the intimacy of your home, and therefore we want to create performance installations of the experiences we navigate in the private spaces.

We would like to invite:

  • People living in Bath to offer their home as a exhibition space. If willing, we would like experiences of the residents to be reflected in the work created
  • Artists to ‘take over’ a house and work with the residents to create an installation. Artists are allowed to use any art form they like!

Interested? Email to submit. Deadline Monday 27 March 2017.

Curated by Alice Ling & Bryony Tilsley.


What’s on the tip of my tongue

  • On the tip of my tongue are the words I need to say to ace my job interview and bag this perfect job.
  • On the tip of my tongue is ‘I love you’, but what if I don’t hear it back.
  • On the tip of my tongue is asking for help but not wanting to seem weak.
  • On the tip of my tongue is arguing that it’s not my fault, but I can’t say it.
  • On the tip of my tongue are the energetic, coherent words I need for a moment of public speaking which I hate so much.  
  • On the tip of my tongue is a conversation with a friend which I can’t bear to have because it risks so much.   
  • On the tip of my tongue is why I can’t use my brain or be empathetic right now.
  • On the tip of my tongue is just saying ‘no’ because ‘no’ I don’t have time; ‘no’ I don’t have the strength; ‘no’ I just don’t want to do this for whatever reason, but still always saying ‘yes’. 

At some point, these words have all been on the very tip of my tongue. Some I have managed to say and some have never been uttered. Some I have discussed with others to help me find the right words. Some build up and spill out!

Without a doubt, most of us have struggled to say similar things.

The inspiration for ‘On the tip of my tongue’ hasn’t come from a particular moment or a conversation that was difficult for us to have, that made us think ‘that would make a great piece of art’. It built over time and in the acceptance that our own weakness is failing to say things that we want or need to say, to say things that would protect us.

I struggle with finding the rights words all the time and often say something that was not quite what I meant (goodness I loath public speaking). I am in awe of people who have all the right words and share them with confidence and finesse. I spend time developing my knowledge so that I can say things with confidence. I put myself in situations where I have to speak publically and I rehearse that phone call that I’m dreading! In fact there’s something I want to share with someone important at the moment, but I fear it's the wrong time to share it. But I will eventually find a way and the right time.  

‘On the tip of my tongue’ is a sharing of those moments with everyone; where we can find out how others find, or don’t find, the words. Difficult conversations come in a multitude of forms: confrontations and disagreements with people you don't want to hurt and people you may never see again, declarations of love, goodbyes. We try to avoid them and bear the burden but sooner or later the unsayable has to be said.

‘On the tip of my tongue' creates a forum which navigates private spaces and feelings: exploring the conversations we struggle to have, the difficult words we don't want to say and the things that we never say, and see this translated into many different art forms. For me, I translate it into movement, but more about that another time.

During this project we hope to witness expressions of love, discussions around money and poverty, confrontation, bereavement, disability, old age and breakdown of relationships. They may be comical moments of embarrassing admission, they may be expressions of love, they may be life changing, they may be unbearable and heartbreaking or just mundane.

If you would like to explore these themes with us please apply to be an artist for ‘On the tip of my tongue…’. We will work with to curate your performance.

Written by Alice Ling (@tongue_tip)