Artist and ‘private ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Walled Unwalled (2018) examines a series of legal cases in which evidence was obtained or experienced through walls, doors or floors. Focusing on crimes experienced at the threshold of perception, it considers how solid structures are increasingly unable to prevent the flow of information or to maintain the barrier between private and public space.
This twenty-minute video installation includes monologues, projected images, moving walls and the performance of different sounds. It was filmed inside the Funkhaus sound studios in East Berlin, previously the broadcast headquarters for the GDR state radio.
Newly designed for the Tanks, the video is projected onto a wall of semi-transparent panels, which allow a portion of light to leak through. On first entering the South Tank, visitors will see the back of the wall, and the ways in which the image spills through its surfaces is a direct extension of the work’s central theme.
In focusing on the process of acoustic and thermal bleed, Walled Unwalled helps us to understand how trauma and violence themselves seep between the senses, and across spatial, temporal and personal boundaries.
Together Walled Unwalled and Abu Hamdan’s After SFX performance contribute to a body of work derived from the artist’s 2016 investigation of the Saydnaya prison in Syria. A new commission relating to these investigations is on view in Abu Hamdan’s concurrent solo exhibition Earwitness Theatre at Chisenhale Gallery, London (21 September – 9 December 2018), giving audiences the opportunity to see the project in its entirety across the two galleries.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (b.1985, Jordan) is an artist and audio investigator based in Beirut, Lebanon. His background as a touring musician led him to develop a deep interest in sound and its intersection with politics, which has come to share his practice. His audio investigations have 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 is affiliated with the Forensic Architecture department at Goldsmiths College London where he received his PhD in 2017. Abu Hamdan is the author of the artist book [inaudible]: A Politics of Listening in 4 Acts. Recent solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (2014) and The Showroom, London (2012).
Wall design: MÜLLER APRAHAMIAN