ARP Talks: Lawrence Abu Hamdan | Birdwatching
Wednesday 30 November, 19:00 to 20:30
One wonders what has become of aesthetics, of the consideration of sensibility, or of the senses, in contemporary art. Has it aligned with the latter’s spectacular aspect, with the narcissistic satisfaction produced by the art market? With Lawrence Abu Hamdan, we find an alternative vision of aesthetics. The artist works with auditory sensations as actions, including their transmission and reception, and as such instantly engages our social relations and the powers inherent to media and networking infrastructures. He demonstrates that artistic action is able to elucidate these situations, and to contribute to a politics of listening.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s work deals with the relationship between listening and politics. Circulating within the spheres of visual arts, law, and human rights, his work is a contemporary analysis of the shifting terrain of borders, human rights, truth and testimony.
His work encompasses documentaries, essays, audio-visual installations, video works, graphic design, sculpture, photography, workshops and performance. He also works as a ‘private ear’, producing audio analyses for legal investigations and advocacy.
In his lecture, Birdwatching, Abu Hamdan will talk about contemporary surveillance technologies and the reclamation of ‘background noise’ through several recent projects including, Convention of Tiny Movements (2015), The Hummingbird Clock (2016), and most recently a collaborative project on Saydnaya.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist, "private ear," and fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, New York. His projects have taken the form of audiovisual installations, performances, graphic works, photography, Islamic sermons, cassette tape compositions, potato chip packets, essays, and lectures. Abu Hamdan’s interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background in DIY music. He has made sonic analyses for legal investigations at the UK asylum Tribunal and advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International and Defense for Children International. His forensic audio investigations are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is also a Ph.D. candidate.
Abu Hamdan's exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the Nam June Paik Award. Further solo exhibitions include تقيه (taqiyya) at Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Tape Echo (2013) at Beirut in Cairo and Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven, The Freedom of Speech Itself (2012) at Showroom, London, and The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht. His works have also been exhibited and performed at venues such as The Shanghai Biennial (2014), Whitechapel Gallery, MACBA, Tate Modern, M HKA Antwerp, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, the Beirut Art Center, and The Taipei Biennial (2012). Abu Hamdan’s writing can be found in Forensis (Sternberg Press), Manifesta Journal, and Cabinet magazine. His works are part of collections at MoMA (New York, USA), Van AbbeMuseum (Eindhoven, Netherlands), Centre Pompidou (Paris, France), and the Arts Council England.
About ARP Talks
This talk is part of a second series of talks organized in partnership with ARP-ALBA (Artistic Research Practices). Throughout this series, artists are invited to present one work, giving a deeper understanding of the research and mechanisms informing their practice, through their actions.
This series of talks is intended as an introduction to contemporary artistic practices by allowing artists to open up what they do and how they do it. The program proposes direct access to contemporary practices through the action of its agents: artists, but also curators and critics.
Taking place in the auditorium, each talk is followed by a discussion with the audience.
In addition to artist talks, curators and cultural practitioners are invited to present on the history of art infrastructure, with a focus on the region. Taking place in the library, these talks include access to archival materials and documentation, and are structured in the manner of an informal seminar.
ARP Talks are aimed at those with an interest in contemporary art and who wish to become better acquainted with contemporary artistic practices.
This series of talks follows on from an international conference on L’Action d’Art (The Action of Art) organized by ARP-ALBA in April 2016.