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The Ground We Tread

Pump House Gallery, London 

In this new and ambitious commission for The Ground We Tread Ilona Sagar draws upon the scales of language associated with the space of care and emotional labour.


The performer acts as a mediator, reiterating spoken text in real-time as it is played back through headphones. The live-work pushes the performer to their limits, using a durational verbatim and gestural technique. The resulting broken conversation between participating speakers is as much about the stutters and mistakes of the voice as it is the delivered text. Core to the installation is Ilona Sagar's  collaboration with Dr. Stephen Hicks, IMU, body and eye tracking data is capture from the performers generating a text work, and other responsive visualisations, throughout the exhibition, which play with the paradigms of power between technology and the body.

In recent times, new terms such as the 'quantified self' highlight the increasing neurosis associated with our individual wellness.  Such wearable devices are data-rich, always on and are profitable forms of self-surveillance. Perversely, the obsession with personal monitoring and wellness comes at a time when our relationship to public welfare and benefits is unhinging. Whilst we become slowly more focused on our individual, internal narratives and mental wellbeing, our relationship to the public domain becomes increasingly distant.

Device culture has now made the human body evermore remote and co-dependent on technology. Pioneering advances in user-driven technologies threaten to shift our social interactions from one of collective interests to networks of individual desires.

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