mouthplace (1997)

This is the place on your face that I sail from. This is the place I tumble from, dive and sing from. This is the place. This mouthplace. I throw-up cackles, like armfuls of crows, and then the slap and calm of mouth flesh. Spittle runs inside my gobbish sentence. I trail damp words. And this is the place on my face that I sail from.

mouthplace was the first collaboration between Jools Gilson-Ellis and Richard Povall. This digital artwork was published as a CD-ROM in 1997 and exhibited internationally. It took two years to make, comprised eight sections and had more than sixty discrete digital performances. In 1997 it was a distinctive, even radical artwork which explored the connection between femininity and orality with a playful irreverence, tenderness and a provocative exploration of its digital context. In exhibition the work was installed with 25,000 sewing needles hanging from red thread from the gallery ceiling – a reference to one of the sections focussed on sewing. Unfortunately it’s no longer possible to view the work because of the vintage technology, but there are short video versions of two of the sections here.  

Semi Colons 
I lean forward 
and cough up
and spit,
and semi-colons; 


Virtual Incarnations, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, UK (2000) 
Electronic Language International Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2000) 
Darklight Digital Film Festival, Arthouse, Dublin, Ireland (1999) 
MECAD, Media Centre for Art & Design, Barcelona, Spain (1999) 
Incomplete Dislocations, Eye Level Gallery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (1997) 
CADE 1997: Digital Creativity, University of Derby, UK (1997) 
Intermedia Festival, Main Gallery, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork (1997) 

mouthplace is fun, provocative and highly professional. It hints at the forthcoming interactive multimedia potential of the medium, the future for a new, truly democratic webart, a journey through cyberspace to heighten and tease all of our senses.” 1997, Christine Sterne in Digital Creativity Vol. 9.3 pp. 185 – 6 

Video animation of madness: from Jools Gilson on Vimeo.

Video animation of mouthsex: from Jools Gilson on Vimeo.


Arts Council of England, Emotional Computing Award 

Articles about mouthplace

Jools Gilson-Ellis (2003) ‘Mouth Ghosts: The Taste of the Os-Text.‘ In: Jane de Gay & Lizbeth Goodman (eds).  

Languages of Theatre Shaped by Women. Bristol: Intellect, pp. 153 – 175.

Jools Gilson-Ellis (1998) ‘Get Your Feminism Off My Floppy: Seedy Roms and Technical Tales‘ In Rapi, Nina &  

Chowdhry (eds.) Acts of Passion: Sexuality, Gender and Performance. London & New York: Routledge,  

pp. 95 – 109 

Richard Povall (1996) ‘Adding Video into the (Real) Time Domain.’ Organised Sound. 1 (2): 93 – 106.  

Bad Mouth
I’ve got a bad mouth
crammed with badness
and I bad-mouth with it
it sends them through
flung doors
tear-charged and flushed with heat
and I grin
and do it again

Short texts about mouthplace and the installation (by Jools Gilson): 

More Info  
Installing mouthplace 
Getting Over Excited 
The Oral Stage