Kenyon College

Speech Impediment


Roxy Paine
(American b. 1966)

Speech Impediment, 2014.
23″ x 40″ x 11″.

Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, NYC.

Roxy Paine invents an industrial machine out of organic material in transforming stripped blond maple wood to mimic a hybrid instrument. An replicative bullhorn is seamlessly fused onto the back of a chainsaw, simulated down to the miniscule dowel pins along the blade chain. The imitative power supply of the bullhorn is spliced onto the gas motor of the chainsaw, implying that any attempt at speech would be thwarted by the uproar of the blade. In contrasting disparate yet ostentatious elements, Paine crafts a stressful object alluding to the anxiety of incapacity.This strange combination interrogates its organic materials in the creation of a machine representing oppressive forces that can render the individual power of speech useless. His manipulation of wood into overwhelming contraption confronts the inextricable connection between the growth and destruction. Paine investigates our various modes of understanding the world in manipulating objects used to break things down or project one’s voice. The juxtaposition between two different systems of language provokes a new perception of the dynamics of power, compelling the viewer to contemplate the speech processing machine that doesn’t allow a voice to be heard.

Isabelle Brauer ’16

David Jon krohn

Very intricate, The labor alone is a statement

7 years ago