Live Audio Essays presents transcripts from performances and films by Lawrence Abu Hamdan, an artist known for his political and cultural reflections on sound and listening.
Abu Hamdan’s intricately crafted and heavily researched monologues are at times intimate, humorous, and entertaining, yet politically disquieting in their revelations. Using personal narratives, anecdotes, popular media, and transcripts rooted in historical and contemporary moments, the artist leads the reader through his investigations into crimes that are heard but not seen. These live audio essays turn our focus to acoustic memories, voices leaking through walls and borders, the drone of warfare, cinematic sound effects, atmospheric noise, the resonant frequencies of buildings, the echoes of reincarnated lives, and the sound of hunger.
Live Audio Essays collects seven iconic works, which were originally presented as performances, films, or video installations from 2014 through 2022. Featured pieces include Contra Diction (Speech Against Itself), Walled Unwalled, After SFX, Natq, A Thousand White Plastic Chairs, Air Pressure, and the newly-completed The 45th Parallel.
All the texts were transcribed and edited with the artist and are available here in a single volume for the first time.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a Private Ear, listening to, with and on behalf of people affected by corporate, state, and environmental violence. Taking the form of forensic reports, lectures and live performances, films, and publications, his work reflects on the political and cultural context of sound and listening and has been presented at the 22nd Biennale of Sydney; the 58th Venice Biennale; the 11th Gwangju Biennale; the 13th and 14th Sharjah Biennial; Witte De With, Rotterdam; Tate Modern Tanks; Chisenhale Gallery; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and Portikus Frankfurt. He received his PhD in 2017 and has held fellowships and professorships at the University of Chicago; the New School, New York; and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He is the recipient of the Toronto Biennial Audience Award, the Edvard Munch Art Award, and the Nam June Paik Award, and was the co-winner of the Turner Prize in 2019. His audio investigations have been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and been a key part of advocacy campaigns for organizations such as Amnesty International, Defence for Children International, and Forensic Architecture.
5 x 7.5 Inches
Editor: James Hoff
Designer: David Bennewith / Colophon
Copy editor: Allison Dubinsky