Town Hall Meeting of the Air

Kate Liston, Tess Denman-Cleaver

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition


Town Hall Meeting of the Air is a project by Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston about the poetics of civic architecture and public gathering. It includes exhibitions, an events programme and a publication.

Collaboratively developed since 2018, Town Hall Meeting of the Air looks at how architecture shapes public gathering and the language of democracy. It focusses on the sensory and material experience of public space and how it shapes modes of gathering.

In Town Hall Meeting of the Air, the artists draw on research into ancient assembly sites, abandoned parliaments, radio broadcast history, utopian literature and the texts and writing practices of Gertrude Stein.

The project began as a commission for Middlesbrough Art Weekender (2018) responding to the architecture of Middlesbrough Town Hall. The first performance event combined poetic text, live radio broadcast and scenography. It explored the poetics of public discourse and the affective spaces of civic architecture. A residency at Middlesbrough Town Hall included a family workshop, in which residents of Teesside were invited to make radio jingles with musician Jeremy Bradfield, build town halls out of foam and create fictional agendas for a town hall meeting of the air.

In 2020 Tess Denman-Cleaver and Kate Liston produced a podcast, Volcanoes & Utopias, for Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art as part of the ongoing development of the project during lockdown.

In 2021, Town Hall Meeting of the Air was presented as an exhibition at BALTIC 39 which included an installation, an audio work, a publication, a working radio station broadcasting from the gallery and curated works by invited artists. The online radio station designed and scheduled by the artists broadcast live events and archive content for the duration of the exhibition including performances, discussion events and archive recordings of the original ‘America’s Town Meeting of the Air’ radio show.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationGateshead
PublisherBALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2021

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