The Rumour Mill


Be Part of the Rumour Mill

Have you heard? During the Art in the Open event on August 27, you can participate in “The Rumour Mill,” an interactive art installation by visual artist Stephen B. MacInnis and writer Jane Ledwell, in Rochford Square. The Rumour Mill will be a gossip-powered human machine for generating poetry out of tourism advertising.

“We’ll be looking for volunteers every hour all evening to be part of our ‘machine,’” says Ledwell. “Basically, all we’re asking is for people to play a fun game of ‘Telephone.’ We’ve got quotations from PEI tourism ads, and we’ll be asking for volunteers to pick one at random and whisper the phrase from person to person down the line. After the phrase is transformed by mishearings, misunderstandings, misrememberings, and random events, we’ll call it ‘poetry’ and write it on a scrolling sheet of paper.

“Stories change from person to person in the Island’s infamous word-of-mouth networks, and sometimes that is destructive,” says Ledwell. “We thought, why not use that energy to make poetry?”

“The installation will reference parts of an old-fashioned wooden mill or machine,” says MacInnis. “It will have a hopper, harnesses, and a hand-cranked reel of paper.

“The idea of an art machine to turn tourism advertising back into culture was really interesting to us,” MacInnis continues. “We want people to think about the ideas behind the project, but we also want this artwork to be playful to interact with.”

The Rumour Mill will operate on schedule in Rochford Square at every hour on the hour from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and for a last run at 11:45 on August 27 during Art in the Open. The “rumours” will circulate in French only, relying on Francophone or bilingual participants, at 5:30 p.m. and at 8:30 p.m.

“We can also run the machine between scheduled times,” says Ledwell. “In fact, any time we have a group of six or more people who want to take part, we’ll crank up the machinery for them.”

You can find out more about The Rumour Mill at

Psst… pass it along.

1 thought on “The Rumour Mill

  1. This looks like a fantastic idea. Who knows what the stories will end up looking like!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close