Nora Turato contends with the porosity of language in contemporary media landscapes with sonorous, spoken-word performances and typographical works composed of found textual materials. Language from books, advertising, social media, and everyday exchanges is appropriated and poured into performance scripts and visual work that ranges from wall murals and videos to artist’s books and posters.
Her performances are delivered with a sense of urgency that appears impulsive and unplanned, which belies the labor-intensive process of research and rehearsal that goes into each piece. Currently she produces two performances of approximately twenty minutes per year, which allows her to stay on track with evolving trends, tropes, and linguistic devices that permeate media, and speak to cultural and political issues of the moment. Her vocal range is broad and pliable, and she uses it to vary her tone in pitch and intonation, harnessing different levels of intensity and emotionality with great theatrical effect.
Strongly informed by her background in graphic design, Turato’s visual artworks are distinctive and characterized by bold, typographic imagery that echo the messaging of her spoken-word performances and the graphic language of contemporary ad slogans. In this spirit she can scale her work from small but hefty artist’s books to billboard-size murals without losing any artistry or nuance.
While her work can be dissected and interpreted under many different lenses for its adroit cultural commentary, Turato’s stage presence—as a woman whose behavior is unpredictable—and her voice—which thunders and bellows and squeals—often cause the greatest critical response. This illustrates one point very well: despite all illusions, the freedom of women’s speech is still a point of sharp contention even in allegedly progressive societies.