Occupying an entire office floor on Folkestone’s Sandgate street, Smadar Dreyfus’ audiovisual installation immersed the visitor in documentary recordings of seven lessons and a school break from mainstream schools in central Israel. Voices once firmly rooted within and through the institutions of education, become disembodied in Dreyfus’ work and then refigured to other ends.
School captures not only the fragmentary process of teaching and learning but also opens a space where the social and the textual coincide. There are grand narratives here of nation and history as well as small but significant acts of rebellion, expressions of character, a culture of disputation, and topical issues that testify to the historical time of the recordings. With the acousmatic rendering of these voices another type of image emerges, each lesson a mise-en-scène, a social microcosm.
Following on from Dreyfus’ large scale audiovisual installations Lifeguards (2005) and Mother’s Day (2006–08), School is a continuation of her investigation into the subliminal and implicit expression of the voice and its affect in public and socially contested spaces.