Artist and ‘private ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Walled Unwalled (2018) brings together a series of legal cases that rely on evidence obtained or experienced through walls, floors and doors.
The twenty-minute video consists of a series of performances, re-enactments and a monologue staged inside the Funkhaus, a trio of sound effects studios in East Berlin. Although this space is now abandoned, the architecture and acoustic elements have been perfectly preserved. This work develops audiovisual techniques for measuring and mapping acoustic leakage, creating new avenues for documenting crimes experienced at the threshold of perception. By focusing on acoustic bleed between walls, these cases get us closer to the ways in which trauma and violence themselves leak, causing seepage between the senses, and across spatial, temporal and personal boundaries.
Newly designed for the Tanks, this expanded media installation takes the form of a wall that both reflects a projected image to a seated audience, and diffuses it amongst a series of semi-transparent posterior panels. Extending concepts explored in the video, the installation embodies both the increasingly common experience of encountering a wall, and the leakage of media through these surfaces.
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).