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Sound and Nothing More: Scoring the Contemporary

Public Talk

Nov '21

Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Sound and Nothing More: Scoring the Contemporary

What does catastrophe sound like? Can we hear the past in the present? What might it mean to score the contemporary as future perfect? The artist and forensic investigator Lawrence Abu Hamdan has been researching and exhibiting the distinct capacity of sound to articulate presence and absence at once. For instance, in his work on the Saydnaya prison in Syria, he demonstrates how the invisible, diffuse nature of sound reverberations without a source redoubles linear mechanisms of panoptic control that rely on direct lines of sight: torturer and tortured, warden/observer and prisoner/observed. Sounds of the torturers, the tortured, footsteps (wardens or prisoners?), and a creaking infrastructure saturate prisoners’ bodies and minds with horror (Saydnaya (the missing 19db) 2017). For the colloquium, we’ve asked Lawrence to present his more recent work on reincarnation (current), considering the relation between past, present, and future temporalities through sound loops open and closed.