Reduce the Time Spend Holding’ New Museum, New York   

 

Collaborations with Lubaina Himid

“I want to experience the sensation of hearing what I see. Magda Stawarska-Beavan wants to make audible what she hears through a process of inner listening followed by a layered composition. This exchange has let to a unique collaboration via the making of a number of sound works and soundtracks for institutions such as Wiels in Brussels and the New Museum in New York” Lubaina Himid

Blue Grid Test

A collaborative work with Lubaina Himid
for Risquons-Tout
Wiels Contemporary Art Centre Brussels

Risquons-Tout presents some of the most innovative and influential artists and authors of the Eurocore region which stretches from Brussels, Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Düsseldorf and London.
The title of the exhibition refers to a locality located on the Franco-Belgian border, a space of transition, passages, informal exchanges and contraband.
“What does blue sound like?

Ultramarine, Cobalt, Midnight, Oxford, Cerulean, Lapis Lazuli, Navy, Indigo, Sapphire, Cambridge, Royal, Sky, Prussian, Egyptian, Woad

Tuesday is pale blue, no other day of the week is blue for me

Songs have rhythms and melodies

Patterns have shapes and colours

Can we visualise a song through a series of globally disparate patterns and open up a conversation about similarity and difference?

A Blue Moon is an extra moon in the calendar, thirteen full moons instead of twelve.
The word blue is perhaps a corruption of the word belewe, which used to mean betray and reflected the strangeness of having an extra moon.  

Magda Stawarska-Beavan and I are making a room in which it may be possible to hear a colour in several languages and see a rhythm through pattern all at the same time.” [Lubaina Himid September 2020]

Reduce the Time Spent Holding

Commission of 8 min sound piece for headphones plus soundtrack for
Lubaina Himid exhibition WORK FROM UNDERNEATH
New Museum, New York, USA

 

Reduce the Time Spent Holding Lubaina Himid: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH New Museum, New York, USA 2019

Work from Underneath at The New Museum asks how we can transform the trauma and despair of drowning in the depths of the unknown into a meaningful workable strategy for hope. Health and Safety guidelines with their texts of social control are turned into poems about being safe in somebody’s arms. These paintings act as a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, they actively lead us towards a way of working collaboratively.

Old Boat/New Money
The multi-layered sound of an old, creaking, wooden boat drifting aimlessly on a vast stretch of ocean fills the room acting as a soundtrack to a steeply undulating row of tall grey painted planks, leaning sliding lifting and falling.

As a disintegrating vessel or an immense wave or an endless shore littered with cowrie shells; the visual image shifts and the sickening sound of the sea relentlessly comes and goes. Sounds played overhead in the grey concrete gallery, soaking the space with seawater and uncertainty.

Move then to a place in which there are clear highly coloured paintings that appear to be designed to be remembered. Visitors must rely on these paintings filled with colour to pull them forward to a path of hope.

 1.46 min fragment – Reduce the Time Spent Holding
 

 

Old Boat/New Money Lubaina Himid: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH New Museum, New York, USA 2019

 

Reduce the Time Spent Holding
People are making and building; interwoven through the musicality of their mechanical cutting or steady hammering, the rip and tear of fabric and the whirr of a sewing machine, is a voice. At times, it is an authoritative command spoken from a distance allowing us to feel the volume of the acoustic space and at others it is an intimate whisper, close to your ear, she gives you instructions; how to keep safe, how to avoid danger, how to survive. 

This soft, quiet voice, encourages the visitor to listen intently to these sounds of making while looking out through a large window with a view of the Bowery into hundreds of rooms in the buildings all around. Past and new narratives of trauma and rescue are painted in sound onto their interiors. 

Exhibited

Lubaina Himid: WORK FROM UNDERNEATH New Museum, New York, USA 2019