Alison Ballard


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The Inner Voice

Single-screen projection, silent
01 min 40 sec, looping

The Inner Voice (2017) is a silent, single-screen projection that questions what it means to be human. The work draws on philosophical ideas and scientific research into the presence of an inner voice when we read, think, and problem solve. It is thought that 80% of people hear an inner voice when they read. It slows us down but is also helps us to understand what we are reading and to form emotional responses. It is common to hear an inner voice as we go about our day-to-day lives, too. It forms an internal narrative that is a pivotal part of both our conscious and sub-conscious experience of life. Speed-reading technologies help us to remove the inner voice but what impact could this have on our cognitive abilities and our sense of self?

In this work, Ballard appropriates the pace and aesthetics of speed-reading software to place the viewer in a conflicting experience of thinking and reflecting on this dilemma, while simultaneously removing the inner voice that enables them to do so. It can be hard to keep-up with the words appearing on screen in quick succession and requires a ‘clearing of the mind’, a suspension of the inner voice, in order to follow the fast-paced turnover of words, encompassing the reader as an active element in the work.


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© Alison Ballard 2012