Liquid Architecture is an Australian organisation for artists working with sound. LA investigates the sounds themselves, but also the ideas communicated about, and the meaning of, sound and listening.
Our program stages encounters and creates spaces for sonic experience, and critical reflection on sonority and systems of sonic affect. To do this, we host experiences at the intersection of contemporary art and experimental music, supporting artists to produce performances and concerts, exhibitions, talks, reading groups, workshops and recordings in art spaces, music venues and other sites.
Liquid Architecture is curatorially driven and our methodology embraces research, collaborations and imaginations. We want to echo beyond local conversations, problems, debates and questions, to reverberate across media and disciplines, and so to sound out new discourses about the audible world, and beyond.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first sovereign owners of this unceded country. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and becoming.
PO Box 12315
LIQUID ARCHITECTURE SOUND INC
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LA collects personal information in a variety of different ways depending on the type of contact that is made with the organisation. LA may also collect personal information over the phone, in person or by electronic correspondence in order to undertake its regular administrative operations.
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The LA website contains links to other sites. LA is not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites. LA encourages users when they leave the site to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects personal information. This privacy statement applies solely to the activities of LA
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DATA ACCESS AND FURTHER INFORMATION
"I despise anyone who says that art is about asking questions, and not providing answers. You hear that pretty much every day in our profession. Artists who repeat this statement think of this as a radical act. But what if art's radicality is actually about art being an engine for truth production? I'm not talking about the same forms of truth production in science or law, since science is totally different to law and each represents two different models for telling the truth. In forensics, science and law meet in some weird space. In art, you can borrow from the ways that science and law tell the truth in order to come up with the means by which art can also speak it."
'Lawrence Abu Hamdan in Conversation', Ocula 2018
Three works by Abu Hamdan feature in Eavesdropping.
1. Rubber Coated Steel
The video 'Rubber Coated Steel' follows an incident in May 2014, in which Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank (Palestine) shot and killed two teenagers, Nadeem Nawara and Mohamad Abu Daher. When Abu Hamdan worked with the human rights organisation Defence for Children International to investigate the incident, the resulting report – and especially Abu Hamdan’s audio-ballistic evidence – led to one soldier being indicted for manslaughter. 'Rubber Coated Steel' restages the report’s findings as a video tribunal, appropriating and extending the techniques of proof, reasoning and rhetoric more familiar to the courtroom, with the viewer in the position of juror. For all the work’s real power and persuasive force, recent events give it a more melancholy edge, a reminder of the politics of legality and the non-equation between law and justice. In 2017, Israeli prosecutors brokered a plea deal with Nadeem’s killer to the lesser charge of negligent killing. When this deal was subsequently upheld by the Israeli High Court of Justice on appeal, one news organisation was led to report, ‘even forensics can't stop Palestinian teen's killer walking free.’
2. Saydnaya (the missing 19db)
'Saydnaya (the missing 19db)' results from Abu Hamdan’s collaboration with Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture to produce an acoustic investigation into Saydnaya Military Prison, 30km North of Damascus, where an estimated 15,000 people have now been executed since 2011. The prison is inaccessible to independent observers and monitors, so the memory of those few who were released is the only resource available from which to learn of and document the violations taking place there. 'Saydnaya (the missing 19db)' focuses on the role of sound and silence both as evidence of the violence being enacted at Saydnaya and, as Abu Hamdan puts it, ‘a form of torture in and of itself’. More specifically, the work documents how the volume of inmates’ whispers became four times quieter after anti-government protests began in 2011. For Abu Hamdan, this 19-decibel drop in the capacity to speak stands as testament to the transformation of Saydnaya from a prison to a death camp. In these 19 decibels we can hear the disappearance of voice and the voice of the disappeared.
3. Conflicted Phonemes
In September 2012, Lawrence Abu Hamdan held a meeting in Utrecht to discuss ways of countering the controversial use of language analysis in determining the origin of asylum seekers and unjustly denying legitimate claims of asylum. In addition to the various linguists, researchers, activists and cultural organisations gathered, the group included twelve Somali people who had all been subjected to a language, dialect, or accent analysis by the Dutch immigration authorities and consequently had their asylum requests rejected. Together, the group created a series of non-geographic maps that explore the hybrid nature of accent, complicating its relation to one’s place of birth by also considering the social conditions and cultural exchange of those living such itinerant lives. It reads the way people speak about the volatile history and geography of Somalia over the last forty years as a product of continual migration and crisis. Its complexity is a testimony to the irreducibility of the voice to a passport and the poverty of law’s sonic imagination.
In light of this, 'Conflicted Phonemes' offers the rejected/silenced asylum seeker an alternative and nonvocal mode of contestation. As well as being exhibited in various galleries and refugee organisations around Europe, the diagrams were presented to a chief judge working within the Dutch immigration authority and submitted at a deportation hearing before the UK Asylum Tribunal. Similar language and accent tests continue to be used in Australia.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a British-Lebanese artist, researcher and audio-investigator associated with the London-based research agency Forensic Architecture. Since 2010, his work has consistently explored the techniques and politics of what he calls ‘forensic listening’: diverse listening practices associated primarily with legal forums and the technoscience of acoustic evidence.