M. Maria Walhout


Detail of painting showing the tops of four white people's heads, one with their arm reaching up and flames behind them.
'Pentecost', El Greco, ca. 1600 (detail)

Indecent/ing tongues

My practice-led research project examines the contemporary charismatic Christian prayer practice of glossolalia ('speaking in tongues') through a queer/trans lens on illegibility. The project's title borrows from Marcella Althaus-Reid's 'Indecent Theology', in which 'indecenting' is proposed as a method of opening up theology to more imprecise and mutable modes and returning it to the authenticity of everyday life experience.

Using autobiographic, theological, performative and poetic modes, the project diffracts glossolalic and queer/trans illegibilities. Following through on the notion that 'Christianity' is foremost a symbolic or aesthetic system, the project reclaims glossolalic practice as a form of 'anti-writing' which unlooses itself. 'Indecent/ing tongues' is entangled in queer and liberation theologies, aesthetic and embodied practice, charismatic and other Christianities and the lived experience of queer/trans embodiment.




Dr Nina Wakeford
Louise Ashcroft