Artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan investigates the uncertain world of the ear witness and the political effects of listening. In 2016, the artist was commissioned to collect the stories from the survivors of the Syrian regime prison of Saydnaya; held in darkness, the prisoners’ only witness relied on the hearing. Abu Hamdan collected these narrations, but, unsatisfied by the imprecision of the default sound effects which he used to complement the interviews, he begun to collect further objects related with those experiences.
In this exhibition, the artist presents this expanded library of objects for the first time, titled Earwitness Inventory (2018). A contained listening room is also installed hosting the audio work “Saydnaya” (2017). Both installations explore what can emerge from audio-focused investigations, examining the role of artifice in the construction of evidence and the specific truth that artists, and artwork, can produce. As part of this new body of work, Abu Hamdan also presents his expanded video installation “Walled Unwalled” (2018) and new performance “After SFX” (2018), at Tate Modern, London from October 1 to October 7, 2018 (performance on October 4).