How does a high-pitched scream filter through a door in a concrete wall, and how could the study of the sound’s migration – taking into account the thickness of the wall, door, and even the size of the keyhole – be used to rebut the defense of South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who claimed he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder when he shot her, during his murder trial in 2014? Answering such questions, Lawrence Abu Hamdan introduces the vast field of sound science in his video installation Walled Unwalled currently on show at daadgalerie.
On screen, we see Abu Hamdan in a historical sound-recording studio at Funkhaus Berlin. The studio comprises three different rooms and sound booths of which the walls are portable to achieve any acoustic circumstance necessary for recording. During the piece the effect of these circumstances on the sound is demonstrated by the moving of walls and opening of doors, offering us a greater understanding of sound as a spatial event. Abu Hamdan reads an essay involving various case studies mostly relating to international politics and law, in which the ability to retrieve and study information like sound and heath from behind walls and partitions plays a central role.
Except for a window in the wall (especially installed for the exhibition) carrying the video projection, some speakers, and poufs, the exhibition space is empty. The window is semi-transparent, allowing us to peek into the gallery’s storage room, underlining once more the theme of walling off space on the one hand, and the invasion of such barriers on the other.
Walled Unwalled makes the point that although our societies are increasingly walled off, due to technological advancement, walls no longer offer the same protection from the exterior world. Not only is our right to privacy at stake in this day and age, but our semantic understanding of walls and partitions is undergoing a fundamental change too.
27.09.2018 – 09.12.2018
Lawrence Abu Hamdan