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17 minutes | May 17, 2021
Mikhail Karikis – Acoustics of Resistance
“Listening is not a passive experience. It doesn't just happen to us. Listening is an action. When I listen, I choose to direct my attention to an other. So, when I listen, the ‘I’ becomes a ‘we’. And I don't only mean listening with my ears, but my entire body receiving, sensing the other. I mean listening as a way of thinking, as an attitude and a way of being.”‘Acoustics of Resistance’ brings together a range of sound recordings made by Mikhail Karikis made at different times and in varied locations over recent years. These are woven together with compositional fragments and a text written and spoken by the artist that reflects on the climate crisis and proposes listening as a form of solidarity, care and activism.Karikis’ monologue, recorded in Lisbon, describes a youth protest against climate change that the artist joined in 2019. Swept up by the crowd and enfolded in rushing waves of noise, Karikis tunes in to the sonic activity of socio-political change – the chants, shouts, drums and whistles – and the transformative power of communal voice. Protest chants merge with choral recordings performed by primary school children and the Liverpool Socialist Singers whose collective whispers, hisses and gasps for breath fluctuate between a sense of crowded human presence, existential urgency and the sonics of a tumultuous and foreboding weather system.CreditsVoice by Mikhail Karikis, Lisbon, April 2021.Dawn chorus fields recording, London, April 2020.Liverpool Socialist Singers, Liverpool, March 2020. Extract of a recording appearing in "Ferocious Love”, 2020, by M. Karikis, commissioned by Tate Liverpool and Birmingham City University.Climate protest, Luxembourg City, March 2019Year 3, Mayflower Primary School, London, May 2018, extract of a recording appearing in “No Ordinary Protest”, 2018, by M. Karikis commissioned by Whitechapel Gallery.ReferencesLaBelle, B., Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent Forms of Resistance, (Goldsmiths Press: London) 2018.Safran Foer, J., We Are The Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, (Hamish Hamilton: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, India, New Zealand, South Africa), 2019.Bernard Lynch, Easter email message, 2021.© Mikhail Karikis--Mikhail Karikis is a Greek-British artist, working and exhibiting internationally. His work in sound, moving image and performance develops site-specifically through collaborations mostly with communities located outside the context of contemporary art and, in recent years, with children, teenagers, young adults and people with disabilities. He employs listening, communal sound-making and video to question the power dynamics between the visible and the unheard and as forms of care and activism. His projects highlight alternative modes of human action and solidarity, while nurturing critical attention, dignity and tenderness.Karikis has exhibited in leading museums and biennials worldwide. Solo exhibitions include ‘Ferocious Love’, Tate Liverpool (2020); ‘For Many Voices’, MIMA, Middlesbrough; ‘Children of Unquiet’, Tate St Ives; ‘I Hear You’, De la Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea; MAM Screen, MORI Art Museum, Tokyo (all 2019-20); ‘Children of Unquiet’, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino (2019); ‘No Ordinary Protest’, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018-19); ‘The Chalk Factory’, Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture (2017). He has shown at 54th Venice Biennale, (2011), IT; Manifesta 9, Genk (2012); 19th Sydney Biennale, (2014); 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale (2016) and MediaCity Seoul (2015). He is professor at MIMA School of Art & Design.
6 minutes | May 11, 2021
Rosa Barba – Faring with Faraway
Rosa Barba’s artistic practice typically engages film as both a narrative and a sculptural medium. In ‘Faring with Faraway’ she visualises with sound, using cinematic language, and various elements like a series of images. Together, they produce a hybrid, layered experience in which notions of time are both stretched and compressed. ‘Faring with Faraway’ includes fragments of archival interviews with certain figures whose lives have captivated Barba, selected from the spoken word recordings and oral history archives kept by the British Library. Voices, predominantly of women, recount life stories, with memories of childhood, family and working life. The speakers include the socialist educator Hilda Brown; Katharine Ramsay, Duchess of Atholl, the first Scottish woman elected to the House of Commons; and Mary Chamberlain, an early proponent of oral studies and women’s history. All of the speakers were activists and campaigners for the welfare of women, and the rights of children and refugees. Within their personal stories are certain hints towards the pervasive context of British Imperialism in the first half of the 20th century, testament to a socio-political heritage that continues to reverberate in the present.Voices intermingling with environmental sounds, musical abstracts, birdsong and animals. A field recording of a cargo train captured by the artist as it passes through the town of Marfa, Texas provides a rhythmic leitmotif, carrying the sequence along. Here the women’s voices function more like instruments in dialogue, overlapping, blending, harmonising and chattering together, allowing the listener to transcend the archival material itself and appreciate its tonal nature as part of a larger musical composition.Rosa Barba, ‘Faring with Faraway’ (2021) contains extracts of recordings held by the British Library Sound Archive. References‘Life story interview with the late educationist, Hilda Brown (1909-1996)’, reference C468/011 (1991).‘Life story interview with Mary Chamberlain, oral historian,’ reference C1149/27 (2012-14).‘Life story interview with the late Kathleen Halpin (1903-1999) who was an active member of the London and National Society for Women's Service (now the Fawcett Society) until her death,’ reference C468/002 (1991).‘Life story interview with the late British Labour politician, Norah Phillips, Baroness Phillips (1910-1992)’, reference C468/014 (1992).Patrick Sellar interviewed by Mark Peter Wright, ‘The wildlife recordist discusses his personal history and the formation of organisations and archives he helped to establish,’ reference C1672/2 (2013).All five interviews © British Library.[Patrick Sellar’s interview is part of the Wildlife Sounds collection]Items held in the collections of the British Library Sound ArchiveKatharine Ramsay, Duchess of Atholl, ‘The New Outlook for Women’ (1929). Original issue number: Columbia 5340.Constance Ripman, ‘Breakfast Time’ (1939). Speakers: Sally Latimer, Henry Oscar, Pamela Ripman. Issued as part of the Linguaphone 'Let's Talk English' series, published by Dents, October 1946. Original issue number: Linguaphone English 2E1.© Rosa Barba--Rosa Barba has had solo exhibitions at prestigious institutions worldwide (including Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art, Turku (2020); CCA, Kitakyushu (2019); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; Malmö Konsthall (all 2017); Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2016); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge MA (2015); MAXXI, Rome(2014); Tate Modern, London (2010); and has participated in numerous group exhibitions and biennials, including the 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2016) and the 53rd and 56th Venice Biennale (2009 & 2015). Her work is part of important collections and has been widely published. In 2020, Barba was awarded the Calder Prize by The Calder Foundation.
22 minutes | Apr 20, 2021
Lawrence Lek – 'Rift EP' (2021)
Artist and musician Lawrence Lek composes expansive atmospheric soundtracks to accompany the virtual reality worlds of his computer-generated film-works. In these hybrid, simulated universes, music plays a central role in world-building, creating a powerful sense of place. The sonic expression in Lek’s fictional realities fill spatial experience, driving the narrative through texture and emotional tone. Like Lek’s film soundtracks, the ‘Rift EP’s instrumental synth melodies play on the musical language of video games, cinema and science fiction scores, evoking other worlds, different times and imagined places. They also embody a progressive, journeying quality. Presented as one continuous track, the ‘Rift EP’ has four distinct sections – 'Portal', 'League', 'Cyber' and 'Fantasy' – each with slightly different sonic characteristics and parallels to the developing levels of gameplay. The experience of listening to the ‘Rift EP’ is akin to that of navigating the impossible architectures and vast, para-fictional CGI cityscapes of Lek’s films. As a soundtrack to walking outdoors, ‘Rift’ offers a transportive lens turning our surroundings into a film set, augmenting our perception of everyday reality and expanding the imagination beyond the here and now. A transcendent otherworldly space emerges through the alternating patterns and momentum of the music which holds within it a future-oriented flow.© Lawrence Lek--Lawrence Lek is a London-based artist, filmmaker, and musician working in the fields of virtual reality and simulation. Drawing from a background in architecture and electronic music, he creates fictional versions of real places that speculate on alternate geopolitical movements and future technological conflicts. This cinematic universe features characters caught between human and machine worlds: digital nomads, AI satellites, and online superstars, all searching for autonomy under alien conditions of existence.His works include the virtual world 'Unreal Estate (The Royal Academy is Yours)’ (2015), the dystopian Brexit simulator ‘Europa, Mon Amour’ (2016), the video essay 'Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD)' (2016), the AI-coming of-age story 'Geomancer’ (2017), the video game '2065' (2018), and the VR simulation 'Nøtel' (2019, in collaboration with Kode9). His CGI feature film 'AIDOL' (2019) was presented at the Moscow International Experimental Film Festival, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and transmediale 2020, Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Ghostwriter', CCA Prague (2019); 'Farsight Freeport', HeK, Basel (2019); Nøtel, Urbane Künste Ruhr, Essen (2019); 'AIDOL', Sadie Coles HQ, London (2019); and '2065', K11, Hong Kong (2018). Lek composes soundtracks and conducts audio-visual mixes of his films, often incorporating live playthroughs of his open-world video games. Soundtrack releases include 'AIDOL OST' (Hyperdub, 2020) and 'Temple OST' (The Vinyl Factory, 2020).
16 minutes | Apr 6, 2021
Tarik Kiswanson – Surging
Tarik Kiswanson’s composition ‘Surging’ occupies a weightless space in which a disorienting collage of sounds hangs suspended in a formless silence, shifting in and out of focus. Sounds crash and objects collide, breaking together; glass shatters, perhaps a window; and sirens ring out, immediately recognisable. No sooner do they arise than the sounds are abruptly interrupted before their auditory arc is complete; swallowed up and refracted elsewhere. This aural debris – a combination of recorded, collected and repurposed sound – appears to have its own agency, trajectory and dynamic rhythm. Occasionally a child’s voice speaks through the silence, posing questions that refuse resolution and articulating phrases from an unknown narrative that guides the listener deeper still into an uncertain, deconstructed world. The voice is Kiswanson’s preadolescent collaborator Vadim, a Romanian-French boy living in Paris. The figure of the preadolescent child is significant to Kiswanson, symbolising a moment in a child’s growth and development when they first become aware of their own sense of self, who they are in relation to others, and their place in society. Vadim’s words, extracts from the artist’s writing, are spoken directly to the ear of the listener, as if tuning in to an inner voice. As he speaks, the hybridity of a voice that holds multiple linguistic and cultural associations becomes clear, his words layered with different contexts, conditions and geographies. Through syncopated repetition, ‘Surging’ gradually builds a disordered looping pattern that refuses to settle. The work exists in a buoyant, levitating state of tension and instability where things connect, collide, disintegrate and reform endlessly; a reoriented space of existence and possibility. © Tarik Kiswanson--Tarik Kiswanson’s work encompasses sculpture, writing, performance, drawing, sound and video works. His fundamental question is ontological: it is inscribed in philosophical research into Being as being. Notions of rootlessness, regeneration, and renewal are recurring themes in his oeuvre. Born in Halmstad, Sweden in 1986 where his family exiled from Palestine, his artistic practice evinces an engagement with the poetics of métissage: a means of writing and surviving between multiple conditions and contexts. His various bodies of work can be understood as a cosmology of related conceptual families, each exploring variations on themes like refraction, multiplication, disintegration, levitation, hybridity, and polyphony through their own distinct language.Kiswanson has most recently presented his work at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019), Ural Biennial, Ekaterinburg (2019), Performa Biennial, New York (2019) Lafayette Anticipations, Paris (2018), Fondation Ricard, Paris (2018) and the Gwangju Biennial (2018). His retrospective exhibition ‘Mirrorbody’ is currently at Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain accompanied by a forthcoming monograph published by Distanz. His upcoming solo exhibitions include MMAG Foundation, Amman (2021), M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (both 2022).
44 minutes | Mar 23, 2021
Cally Spooner – DEAD TIME: Narrator’s Script
Opening with silence, or more accurately with the absence of action, Cally Spooner’s ‘DEAD TIME: Narrator’s Script’ (2019-2021) introduces the listener to an altered sense of time in which no major event nor narrative development takes place. The script is one element drawn from Spooner’s 63-page performance score ‘DEAD TIME’ (2018) which she has been incrementally translating through live performance and installation since composing it in Autumn 2018.The ‘DEAD TIME’ score is set in “a surveillance-capitalist crime scene” where an absurdist ecosystem of living and non-living characters co-exist in a resistant, pervading present-tense atmosphere; waiting, rehearsing, repeating, yet never quite converging. The Narrator is both a single male voice and solo piano. Ruminating on faltering immune systems, unstable financial markets, corporate feminism and #MeToo, the Narrator’s composite of pirated language and attenuated silences is met with a regimented bleep-beat and the timed swell of piano repeating the theme tune from a Netflix TV show. Through this loosely improvisational structure, the reading, like the ‘DEAD TIME’ score as a whole, seeks to hold a space that remains resistant to ‘chrononormativity’ – the imperial, masculinist standardisation of time that orders labour, performance, and digital technologies into a progressive future-orientated linearity.This particular reading was recorded with a live audience at Camden Arts Centre, London, on the 11th March 2020. In a convergence of events, this took place on the day social distancing was introduced in the UK, setting in motion a collective state of pause. In her sound edit for The Common Guild, Spooner pivots the listener’s focus towards a very uncomfortable captive audience on the cusp of dramatic societal shift and a year of intermittent captivity. The soundtrack of the room and the audible tension of bodies gathered together brings a palpable clarity to the reading; both staging and activating a state of dead time, testing this as a potential to reset neoliberal temporalities of productivity and liveliness. Listeners should experience ‘ DEAD TIME’: Narrator’s Script’ whilst walking, working or engaging in other activity. We recommend listening with headphones.The original recording at Camden Art Centre was organised and commissioned by Lynton Talbot as part of Spooner’s project at Parrhesiades, London.The piano is played by Neil Luck.The voice is Jesper List Thomsen.Sound Mix by Tom Sedgwick.Mastering by Stephan Mathieu /Schwebung Mastering.© Cally Spooner--Cally Spooner (1983) lives and works in Turin, Italy. Rooted firmly in her training in philosophy, her practice is generated through writing, unfolds as performance, then lands as film, sound, sculpture, drawings or scores. Her performances incorporate duration and rehearsal as acts of resistance to corporate-digital and performative climates in which it is hard to tell the difference between what is alive and what is dead.Spooner has a forthcoming solo show at the Fondazione Morra Greco, Naples (2021) and commissions at the Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis and MOCA, Cleveland (both 2021). Her solo shows include 'DEAD TIME', The Art Institute of Chicago (2019); 'SWEAT SHAME ETC.', Swiss Institute New York (2018); 'Everything Might Spill', Castello Di Rivoli, Rivoli (2018); 'DRAG DRAG SOLO', Contemporary Art Centre Geneva (2018); 'Soundtrack For A Troubled Time', Whitechapel Art Gallery (2017); 'On False Tears and Outsourcing', New Museum, New York (2016). ‘On False Tears’, her monograph, was published by Hatje Cantz and Edizione Madre in 2020. Her book 'Scripts' (2016) is published by Slimvolume, and her novel 'Collapsing in Parts' (2012) is published by Mousse Publishing.
16 minutes | Mar 3, 2021
Ayo Akingbade – Love Letters to E9
Recorded in the winter of 2020, ‘Love Letters to E9’ (2021) continues Ayo Akingbade’s poetic meditation on urbanism and the ways in which the built environment shapes and influences individual character. “The geography and architecture of Hackney are reflections of my sense of identity,” says Akingbade, whose work looks back on community histories and personal legacies deeply connected to the metropolis, specifically inner London.‘Love Letters to E9’ accompanies childhood friends - Akingbade and Lané Frederick - sitting at Well Street Common. They reminisce on the defining years of their early childhood, recalling the positivity of school days; feelings of freedom, happiness and optimism for what the future might hold. Their conversation addresses their youthful dreams and desires, recalling early 2000s pop music, friendships and minor local landmarks the playground, a primary school pond that has since disappeared – small reveries of collective significance that they struggle to piece together through fragments of shared memory.Their talk is occasionally offset by the everyday sounds of present-day Hackney; a fuzzy contemporary soundtrack that underscores the difference and distance between their mental landscape and the urban space that now surrounds them. “I don’t want to talk about gentrification” says Akingbade, but it is the relentless transformation and constant erasure enacted by this practice that resonates just beneath the surface of their exchange, articulated through a sense of (dis)locatedness and uncertainty for the future, both for themselves and the local community.‘Love Letters to E9’ contemplates coming of age in a city that is constantly regenerating and remaking itself, reflecting on the passing of time with a quiet, undramatic poignancy.With thanks to Lané Frederick.Original music by Oliver Palfreyman.Sound recording by Kim Bradfield.Mix by Oliver Palfreyman.© Ayo Akingbade--Ayo Akingbade is an artist, director and writer from London. She works predominantly with moving image, addressing notions of urbanism, power and stance. She has exhibited and screened widely, including presentations at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (2020); ‘This is England’, Somerset House Studios, London (2019); ‘Building Space’, South London Gallery (2019); ‘In formation’, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, (2018); and ‘Imagination Is Power: Be Realistic, Ask the Impossible’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, (2018); as well as Birkbeck University (2020), and Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2020) amongst others. Akingbade graduated with a BA in Film Practice from London College of Communication and is due to graduate with a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art from Royal Academy Schools in 2021. Forthcoming projects include ‘A Glittering City’, Whitechapel Gallery (2021) and ‘No News Today’, Coventry Biennial (2021).
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