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.
Liquid Architecture is a non-profit cultural organisation with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status. We support artists working with sound.
Your support helps us instigate more programs, conduct more research, stage more extensive experiments and more exchanges with artists, and generate more dialogue. And more sound.
PO Box 12315
LIQUID ARCHITECTURE SOUND INC
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"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 installation '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. The human rights organization Defence for Children International contacted Forensic Architecture, a Goldsmiths College-based agency that undertakes advanced architectural and media research. They worked with Abu Hamdan to investigate the incident. The case hinged upon an audio-ballistic analysis of the recorded gunshots to determine whether the soldiers had used rubber bullets, as they asserted, or broken the law by firing live ammunition at the two unarmed teenagers.
A detailed acoustic analysis, for which Abu Hamdan used special techniques designed to visualize the sound frequencies, established that they had fired live rounds, and moreover had tried to disguise these fatal shots to make them sound as if they were rubber bullets. These visualizations later became the crucial piece of evidence that was picked up by the news channel CNN and other international news agencies, forcing Israel to renounce its original denial. The investigation was also presented before the U. S. Congress as an example of Israel’s contravention of the American-Israeli arms agreement.
A little over a year after Abu Hamdan completed his report, he returns to the case of Abu Daher and Nawara in his exhibition Earshot. Expanding on the original body of evidence, he has created an installation encompassing sound, photographic prints, and a video to reflect more broadly on the aesthetics of evidence and the politics of sound and silence.
The video, Rubber Coated Steel acts as a tribunal for these serial killing sounds. The video tribunal does not preside over the voices of the victims but rather seeks to amplify their silence, fundamentally questioning the ways in which rights are being heard today.
2. Saydnaya (the missing 19db).
In 2016 Lawrence Abu Hamdan worked with Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture to produce an acoustic investigation into the Syrian regime prison of Saydnaya 25km North of Damascus, where over 13,000 people have been executed since the protests in 2011 began. The prison is inaccessible to independent observers and monitors. 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. However, the capacity of detainees to see anything in Saydnaya was highly restricted as mostly they were kept in darkness, blindfolded or made to cover their eyes. As a result, the prisoners developed an acute sensitivity to sound. Abu Hamdan worked with survivors’ earwitness testimony to help reconstruct the prison’s architecture and gain insight as to what is happening inside. Since the investigations completion Abu Hamdan has been developing a growing body of evidence that pertains to the projects more fragile truths; works in which human memory, architecture, violence, and the processes of reconstruction are entangled and become irreducible to the language and urgency of human rights and advocacy.
Saydnaya (the missing 19db) is the first of a series of articles of evidence produced by Abu Hamdan that pertain to the projects more fragile truths. The installation presented here is an automated scenography containing a sound piece played back in a darkened room from a dimly lit mixing desk/sound board on which the volume controls are motorized and autonomously move according to the voices one is hearing in the room. The work documents the way in which the whisper of the inmates became 4 times quieter after the 2011 protests began; showing the decreasing sound level of a voice speaking at normal conversational volume, a voice demonstrating the level at which one could speak in Saydnaya before 2011 and finally the level at which one could speak after the 2011 protests. The 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.
Saydnaya (the missing 19db) was commissioned by the 13th Sharjah Biennial.
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. The group consisted of twelve Somali people who have all been subjected to a language, dialect, or accent analysis by the dutch immigration authorities and subsequently had their asylum requests rejected. In addition to the Somali asylum seekers, the group included linguists, researchers, activists, cultural organizations, and the graphic designer Janna Ullrich.
These tests, which target the somali community in particular, seek to determine that asylum seekers are actually coming from small pockets of relatively safe regions in the north of the country, thus making it possible for their applications to be rejected. the group created a series of nongeographic maps that seek to expose and disseminate the realities of this technology/policy. The maps 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, namely its inapplicability to fix people in space.
These maps are thus meant to offer the rejected/silenced asylum seeker an alternative and nonvocal mode of contestation. As well as being exhibited in various galleries and refugee organizations around Europe, these maps were presented to a chief judge working within the dutch immigration authority. The research was also submitted at a deportation hearing before the UK Asylum tribunal.
Conflicted Phonemes was commissioned by Casco Office for Art theory and Design, Utrecht.
Beirut-based Jordanian artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan examines the contemporary politics of listening – its relationship to power, borders, human rights, testimony and truth – through the production of audio documentaries and essays, installations, sculpture, photography, and performance.
Alice Hui-Sheng Chang
Amanda Stewart and Jim Denley
Anna Homler AKA Breadwoman
Anthony Lyons and Paul Fletcher
Antoinette J. Citizen
Antonia Sellbach with Julie Burleigh and Alison Bolger
Atlanta Eke and Daniel Jenatsch
Beth Sometimes & Caroline Anderson
Bhenji Ra x Del Lumanta x Daryl Prondoso
Black Quantum Futurism
Brian Fuata x Enderie
Bryan Phillips AKA Galambo
COCO SOLID AKA Jess Hansell
Catherine Clover and Peter Knight
Chloe Alison Escott
Christopher LG Hill
Chun Yin Rainbow Chan
Clare Milledge and Tom Smith
Clocks and Clouds
Collingwood College Sound Collective
12 dog cycle
David Chesworth and Sonia Leber
David Shea and Kristi Monfries
Dennis Del Favero
Dirk de Buyn
Eric Demetriou and Herbert Jercher
Evelyn Araluen Corr
Evelyn Ida Morris
Faene (Corin x Ju Ca)
Fayen d’Evie and Jen Bervin with Bryan Phillips and Andy Slater
Feminist Theory Group
Fernando do Campo
Haco and Toshiya Tsunoda
Hannah Catherine Jones AKA Foxy Moron
Harriet Kate Morgan
Hi God People
Rosalind Hall and Dave Brown
Is There A Hotline?
id m thffft able
J'Ouvert Ft Makeda and The AM Trio - Ece Yavuz, Alvin Rostant and R
James Utting-Webb and Riley Lockett
Jenny Ruth Barnes
Joanna Anderson & Michael Prior
Johannes S. Sistermanns
Julia Drouhin and Pip Stafford
Anja Kanngieser and Daniel Jenatsch
Keith Fullerton Whitman
Lacking Sound Festival
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Lei Lei Kung
Leila El Rayes
Leila El Rayes x Poison
Lorna & Aunty Jenny Munro
Snack Syndicate (Andrew Brooks and Astrid Lorange)
Joseph Jordania and Nino Tsitsishvili with Melbourne Georgian Choir
Matthew P. Hopkins
Matthew P. Hopkins & Julie Burleigh
Media Lab Melbourne
Megan Alice Clune
Mehera San Roque
Michael Green, André Dao, Jon Tjhia and Abdul Aziz Muhamat
Monica Monin & Astrid Lorange
Nathan John Thompson
Noel Meek and Olivia Webb
Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh
Pia Van Gelder
Poppy de Souza
Queens of the Circulating Library
Romy Seven Fox
Sally Ann McIntyre
Shi Chao Lai
Th Duo Trio
Thanh Hằng Phạm
The Charles Ives Singers
The Donkey's Tail
Ting Shuo Hear Say
Undine Sellbach & Stephen Loo
Ur 1st Luv
Ute Meta Bauer
Will Foster and Sabrina D’Angelo