Wednesday, August 21, 2013

‘Project Space: Word. Sound. Power’.

From a single utterance, to the pronunciation of a name and the declaration of an idea, the voice is a tool through which we assert our presence in the world. The use of the voice as a means of protest and as a metaphor for self-representation is central to this exhibition.

By bringing together the work of Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Caroline Bergvall, Amar Kanwar, Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen, Anjali Monteiro and K.P. Jayasankar, Pallavi Paul and Mithu Sen – including audio documentary, video, performance, text and sound – this exhibition at  Tate Modern (12 July – 3 November 2013) takes a moment to listen to the harmony and dissonance of voices rising.

Artist Nikolaj Bendix Skyum Larsen presents a newly commissioned work that grounds the relevance of the voice – singular and collective, celebrated and silenced – in the localities neighbouring Tate Modern in London and Khoj, International Artists’ Association in New Delhi. Larsen encounters the lives of four young men, continents apart who show deep sadness, sheer belief and aspiration as they attempt to find expression and empowerment. United through hip-hop culture dance, rap and poetry become means to raise their voices in the face of adversity.

‘Project Space: Word. Sound. Power’ is curated by Loren Hansi Momodu at Tate Modern and Andi-Asmita Rangari, Khoj, International Artists’ Association, New Delhi. The curatorial exchange is organised with the collaboration of Gasworks.

An event related to the exhibition was conducted by Mithu Sen (I am a Poet) last month. It involved Sen public readings from her book of abstracted poetic text. An accompanying note to it mentioned: “Not bound by rules of grammar, diction, vocabulary and syntax, the poems in this book suggest another medium of understanding.

“No one but you speaks this language. It is yours to read, to decipher, to interpret and to understand. Unfettered by the hegemonic structures of language, these ‘nonsensical’ figures; this computer gibberish is beyond the process of meaning making. I invite you to embrace ‘nonsense’ as resistance and comb out utterances from your subconscious; thereby, giving voice to all those moments that exist but are not realised or lived. These are poems for you (and me) – by you (and me).” Then there was a film by Anand Patwardhan (We Are Not Your Monkeys; Jai Bhim Comrade) as well.

The exhibition will continue at Khoj, International Artists’ Association, New Delhi until 8 February 2014.

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