Following the last issue of Selections, Frequently Asked Questions in Art, we continue our quest to analyse what surrounds us in the art world. However, this time, for our 21 Artists and a Biennial issue, we take you backstage to expose you to the world of research in the 21st century. Because the most important part of our work is research, we analyse both the material we receive and what we find, basing ourselves on today’s most common search tools: online search engines, online encyclopaedia, social media, carefully written press releases, email exchanges with the artist’s gallery and the artist him/herself. After laying down the information we’ve gathered onto our pages, we invite you to make your own analysis.
(b. 1985 Amman, Jordan)
Lives and works in
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and audio investigator. His interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music. The artists audio investigations has been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International. The artist’s forensic audio investigations are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths College London where he received his PhD in 2017.
2017 – Goldsmiths College, University of London, PhD, The Centre for Research Architecture, UK
2010 – Goldsmiths College, University of London, MA, The Centre for Research Architecture, UK
2007 – Middlesex University, BA, Sonic Arts, London, UK
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS
Earwitness Theatre, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri,
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art,
Walled Unwalled, daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany
Walled Unwalled, conceived for the Tanks, Tate Modern, Bankside,
Earwitness Theatre, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK
Lawrence Abu Hamdan: [INAUDIBLE], mor charpentier, Paris, France
Hammer Projects: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Hammer Museum, Los
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Maureen Paley, London, UK
Contra-Diction: Speech Against Itself, Le Centre Pompidou, Paris,
Earshot, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
Taqiyya, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland
The All-Hearing, Laveronica, Arte Contemporanea, Sicily, Italy
Tape Echo, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Tape Echo, Beirut in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Aural Contract: The Whole Truth, Casco Utrecht, Netherlands
Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself, the Showroom,
Abu Hamdan’s Rubber Coated Steel 2016 won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival 2017 and his exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award.
This Whole Time There Were No Land Mines uses found mobile phone footage and audio recordings that were made in 2011 in the Golan Heights. This stretch of land was annexed from Syria by Israel after the 1967 ceasefire and hosts “the shouting valley” – a place where the topography facilitates an acoustic leak across the border. Here separated families have regularly gathered on both sides of the divide to shout across to each other.
DESCRIBING HIMSELF AS A “PRIVATE EAR,” LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN FOCUSES ON THE POLITICS OF LISTENING, THE LEGAL AND RELIGIOUS IMPACT OF SOUND, THE HUMAN VOICE AND SILENCE. HIS PRACTICE AROSE FROM A BACKGROUND IN DIY MUSIC, BUT IT CURRENTLY SPANS FILM, AUDIO-VISUAL INSTALLATIONS AND LIVE AUDIO ESSAYS – A TERM HE PREFERS TO “LECTURE-PERFORMANCE,” AS IT BETTER DESCRIBES THE INTERTWINING OF VOICE AND CONTENT, AND OF THE DISCOURSE AND THE CONDITIONS IN WHICH IT IS PRONOUNCED. HE DEALS WITH THE HUMAN VOICE AS A POLITICISED MATERIAL, EASILY GRASPABLE BY GOVERNMENTS OR DATA COMPANIES.
VENICE BIENNALE – Lawrence Abu Hamdan
LOCATION: May You Live In Interesting Times Central Pavilion/Arsenale
Abu Hamdan is part of the the 58th International Art Exhibition, titled May You Live In Interesting Times, curated by Ralph Rugoff and organized by La Biennale di Venezia chaired by Paolo Baratta.
WALLED UNWALLED IS A SINGLE CHANNEL 20– MINUTE PERFORMANCEVIDEO INSTALLATION. THE PERFORMANCE COMPRISES AN INTERLINKING SERIES OF NARRATIVES DERIVED FROM LEGAL CASES THAT REVOLVED AROUND EVIDENCE THAT WAS HEARD OR EXPERIENCED THROUGH WALLS. IT CONSISTS OF A SERIES OF PERFORMANCES, RE–ENACTMENTS AND A MONOLOGUE STAGED INSIDE A TRIO OF SOUND EFFECTS STUDIOS IN THE FUNKHAUS, EAST BERLIN.
A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN PRINT IN SELECTIONS, 21 ARTISTS AND A BIENNIAL #49, PAGES 92 – 97.