Eman Abdellatif // Samm Anga // Mathias Arrignon // Claudio De Benedictis // Louise Le Du // Mengyuan Fu // Lara Geary // Zixiao Gong // Hye Yun Jeong // Nima Khademlou // Yushu Ma // Avery Rogers // Junchang Zhang
Now in its fourteenth year, the MA Sound Arts at London College of Communication has always culminated in a group exhibition for gallery space, happily finding its current home at Southwark Park Galleries, Dilston Gallery. The artistic proposition to make a sound work that will inevitably commune with those made by others within the “volume”[i] of the gallery presents a provocation-of-sorts to both artists and curator; one that has inevitably taken on new aspects of meaning since the onset of the global pandemic. Whilst we trust that this year’s exhibition will proceed with a public audience, this ongoing period of separation and loss has inevitably re-cast the ritual of the exhibition. In David Graeber & David Wengrow’s new book ‘The Dawn of Everything’, they compellingly suggest that “seasonal congregation for festive labour”[ii] gave the opportunity for earlier humans “to engage in complex rituals and ambitious artistic projects”, both ephemeral and monumental. The reference to “festive labour” in the exhibition’s title is intended to evoke the act of exhibition-making as a joyful coming-together where the celebration extends outwards from the works themselves and their makers.
Eman Abdellatif’s ‘Listening to the Dance of the Built Environment’ inducts visitors in a participatory choreography that is one part of an ongoing process for composing built environments, whilst offering a video and archive that invites a dive into the research process. Samm Anga turns to archeo-mythology to explore the music of a fictional empire, ‘Mysteries of the Unseen’, and at its core, voices that might be termed “extended technique” by a Eurocentric lens. Combining field recording, fabric, cyanotype and theremin waves, Mathias Arrignon’s ‘Oceanomicon’ is an interactive sensory cartographic artefact which emerges from the corrosive wake of the Carbon Gas in the One Ocean. Claudio De Benedictis situates a quadriptych composition in a virtual room where the VR headset user can situate themselves to listen to one or more pieces at once, in relation to the four accordingly coloured walls; each piece reflecting on one of Robert Plutchick’s primary emotional states. Louise Le Du’s ‘Parapluies Sonores’ are both physical sculptures and an invitation to consider the world at the threshold of shelter and everything beyond it, including what Franco Berardi suggests are the “hidden possibilities lying there since the [..]primaeval origins of human history”. Mengyuan Fu’s audio-visual installation with live dance meditates on the pain of the pandemic, and the possibilities for optimism in the face of disaster, through Tang Dynasty Li Bai’s poem, ‘Wine Will Enter’. Through a generative, “real time” interactive digital sculpture, graphite drawing and a neural network binaural / ambisonic audio work, Lara Geary investigates the materiality of the voice, the marks, traces and residue that it leaves on others and in turn is constitutive of its self. The cartoon character Mr E is the pivot for Zixiao Gong’s nine audio-visual animations that explore the pandemic through the hidden soundscapes revealed by their protagonist. Hye Yun Jeong takes her own heartbeat, pulse and breath as sonic material, interwoven with instrumentation in a series of seven light sculptures that together play as an ensemble on the floor of the exhibition space. Nima Khademlou’s kinetic audio installation, ‘A Poniard is Hidden Under the Gold Tray’, explores the censorship of music and musical instruments by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard after 1979, and asks what sounds can be made to explore this silencing? Working with the idea of her own ‘mind chatter’, the concept of the brain and the metaphor of the hemisphere, Yushu Ma mixes homophones and textual fragments in Mandarin and English into an audio sculpture that blurs notions of the conscious and subconscious. Avery Rogers’ sound installation ‘You Are Here’ broadcasts a textual performance by the artist that, accompanied by the work’s two watercolour paintings, investigates the symmetry between abstract and material elements of aural experience. Junchang Zhang’s ‘Jing’ is a multi-channel composition and an invisible realm of negative emotions sparked by the racism that surrounds Asian people in Western countries, something further heightened by the emergence of COVID-19.
[i] Salomé Voegelin, co-founder of the course, has compellingly proposed the paradigm of volumes for the curation of sound-based works in gallery space (Voegelin, 2019, The Political Possiblity of Sound, London: Bloomsbury, 46-7).
[ii] David Graeber & David Wengrow, 2021, The Dawn of Everything, London: Penguin
Curator: Irene Revell
Course Leader: Thomas Gardner
London College of Communication (LCC), part of University of the Arts London (UAL), is a pioneering world leader in media and design education and research programmes geared to preparing students for successful creative careers. Our courses are known for being industry focused with students taught by an inspiring community of experienced academics, technical experts and leading specialist practitioners. Generations of award-winning photographers, filmmakers, screenwriters, journalists, broadcasters, designers and advertising and PR professionals have started their careers at LCC, and today’s graduates continue to be highly sought after and win prestigious international awards.
www.arts.ac.uk/lcc @LCCLondon #LCCPostgrad
Performance Programme: Thursday 2 Dec 2:30pm – 4pm. Free, no booking required.
With contributions from Louise Le Du, Samm Anga, and Eman Abdellatif with contemporary choreographer Agata Olszewska. Visitors are also invited to participate in Abtellatif’s work daily from 15:30 with a sign-up sheet at the reception.
Online symposium: Saturday 4 Dec 11am – 1:30pm. Free, booking essential.
A Research Symposium with guest artist Lisa Hall, Course Leader Thomas Gardner and chaired by writer Louise Gray. The symposium is an opportunity for fellow researchers from the sound arts community, students, guests and friends to engage directly with the artists’ research, through conversation and inquiry.