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58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times 24 May 2019 : Mohammad Salemy for Ocula

The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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Zheng Bo Ocula Conversation Zheng Bo

Hong Kong-based artist Zheng Bo's social, ecological, and community-engaged art practice has, in recent years, focused on moving beyond a human-centred perspective to an all-inclusive, multi-species approach. He takes up marginalised plants and communities of people as subjects in his large-scale interventions, which reintroduce wildness into...

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Auckland Art Fair 2019: Conversations Extended Ocula Report Auckland Art Fair 2019: Conversations Extended 24 May 2019 : Sherry Paik for Ocula

The weather was clement for the annual Auckland Art Fair (2–5 May 2019), which was again at The Cloud on Queens Wharf. This year's edition was a get-together of 41 galleries, mostly from around Auckland and across New Zealand, with 5 spaces hailing from Sydney and the rest from Cook Islands (Bergman Gallery), Hobart (Michael Bugelli Gallery),...

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan

b. 1985, Jordan

Born in 1985 in Amman, Jordan, Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, New York. With a background in DIY music, Abu Hamdan's practice is centred on sound and its intersection with politics, and takes on a variety of forms—including performance, graphic work, audiovisual installations, photography, essays and lectures. The artist received his PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017, which involved a series of forensic audio investigations that were conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture.

In 2012, Abu Hamdan created the audio documentary The Freedom of Speech Itself (2012), which spotlighted the UK's controversial use of voice analysis in order to determine the origins and authenticity of asylum seeker's accents, which resulted in a number of wrongful deportations. The 30 minute video is composed of a series of testimonies from lawyers, phonetic experts, asylum seekers and Home Office officials that highlight the geopolitics of accents as well as the act of listening. The work has also been exhibited as a sound installation alongside sculptural compositions of voiceprints, whose undulating, cartographic forms bind together the notions of voice and territory. Made from acoustically absorbent foam, the sculptures illustrate the frequency and amplitude of two different voices saying 'you'.

As part of his PhD research, the artist—alongside Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture—worked with survivors' of Sayndaya prison in Syria to construct the architecture of the prison through earwitness testimonies. This research was incorporated into a sound and light box installation commissioned by the 13th Sharjah Biennial, titled Saydnaya (the missing 19db) (2017). The light box illustrates that the whispers of inmates became four times lower since the beginning of the 2011 protests. This decrease is visually illustrated in the light box, along with two different voice levels demonstrating the level of whispers before and after 2011 and a third, normal conversational voice to illustrate the stark disappearance of voice over time as a direct consequence of violence and suppression. A sound piece was also played back from a dimly-lit mixing desk/sound board whose volume controls reacted autonomously according to the voices heard in the room.

The artist received the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize for his commissioned piece, Walled Unwalled. Projected onto a glass plate, behind another sheet of holographic foil, the work presents a series of narratives of legal cases that were constructed from evidence collected 'through walls'. In a 2018 Ocula Conversation with Mohammad Salemy, Abu Hamdan discusses the work explaining that he is 'after the condition that is depicted through the stories that are heard or experienced through walls; most explicitly through digital walls, or in terms of surveillance, when the film or camera is used to see, particularly in the context of a prison.'

In 2017, Abu Hamdan's work Rubber Coated Steel (2016) won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival. His exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum L.A. (2018), Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013) and The Showroom in London (2012).

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2018
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Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Maureen Paley, London
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28 April–28 May 2017 Lawrence Abu Hamdan Maureen Paley, London

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In Ocula Magazine

58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times Ocula Report 58th Venice Biennale: May You Live In Interesting Times 24 May 2019 : Mohammad Salemy for Ocula

The 58th Venice Biennale, May You Live In Interesting Times (11 May–24 November 2019), certainly benefitted from low expectations, given the lacklustre curatorial of the previous edition, when different segments of the show were conceptually framed with titles like 'Pavilion of Joys and Fears' and 'Pavilion of Colours'. Add to this the...

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London Frieze Week: The Lowdown Ocula Report London Frieze Week: The Lowdown 20 Sep 2018 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Located in Regent's Park, Frieze London has expanded to focus on historical works in recent years, with the introduction of Frieze Masters in 2012, further reinforcing London's position as a leading art destination. Beyond this year's edition (4–7 October 2018), a range of unmissable exhibitions are taking place across London in both commercial and...

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Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown Ocula Report Melbourne Art Shows to See: The Lowdown 27 Jul 2018 : Carol Que for Ocula

Melbourne Art Week returns to much fanfare this year, taking place between 30 July and 5 August 2018 with the biennial Melbourne Art Fair holding centre stage after its hiatus in 2016 (2–5 August 2018). Situated across two venues within the Southbank Arts Precinct and presenting 40 new and established galleries from Australia, New Zealand and...

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan Ocula Conversation Lawrence Abu Hamdan Artist, Beirut

Contemporary art seldom deals with the significance of sound in the sphere of human interaction—the tradition of prioritising images over other sensory information continues to define our perception of the world. The work of Lawrence Abu Hamdan challenges viewers to re-evaluate this image-centred paradigm by offering a different set of...

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In Related Press

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TURNER PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED Related Press TURNER PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED Artforum : 1 May 2019

Tate Britain announced today the four artists who have been shortlisted for the 2019 Turner Prize: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai Shani. The artists were nominated for works that investigate crime, explore social histories, and transport viewers to another time and place.

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The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale Related Press The Art Newspaper's pick of the 2019 Venice Biennale The Art Newspaper : 30 April 2019

There are hundreds of exhibitions in Venice during the Biennale. Alongside the main exhibition in the Giardini and Arsenale, there are 90 national presentations, many in nearby pavilions in the Giardini and in spaces around the Arsenale, but also dotted throughout Venice. Then there are the official collateral exhibitions in museums and galleries,...

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The Politics of Sound in a Prison Related Press The Politics of Sound in a Prison Hyperallergic : 17 March 2018

In the events that transpired during the Arab Spring of 2011, citizens of several Middle Eastern countries took to the streets to protest the oppressive regimes that their respective leaders forced generations of innocents to endure. One of these oppressors was Bashar Al-Assad, the President of Syria. Al-Assad took power in 2000, after running...

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Immersed in the Discrete Realities of the Sharjah Biennial Related Press Immersed in the Discrete Realities of the Sharjah Biennial Hyperallergic : 13 April 2017

'If the sky is full of stars, then somewhere there is another star, another sun, and around it, there must be other planets ... with ground to stand on, water to drink, a breeze, a moon, a decent sea, a sunset poised on the horizon, a sunrise waiting to happen.' So goes a passage from the text of the performance The Necessity of Infinity by Raqs...

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