Haig Aivazian, Prometheus, 2019; installation view within All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes, 2022, The Showroom, London as part of The Consortium Commissions, a project initiated by Mophradat. Courtesy of the artist and The Showroom. Photo: Max Colson
This month, Haig Aivazian's solo exhibition All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes continues at The Showroom until Saturday 26 March.
We're glad to share recent texts about the show and Aivazian's wider practice by Melissa Gronlund and Salena Barry; now available to read online in The National and ArtReview.
This week we will be hosting a conversation between Gascia Ouzounian and Mhamad Safa, the first event in a new series titled Countersonics: Radical Sonic Imaginaries in partnership with Soncities. Read a preview by En Liang Khong here as one of her critic's picks for March, in ArtReview online.
Meanwhile, we send congratulations to artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu for her inclusion in this year's central exhibition at the Venice Biennale and share archival sonic encounters with her Showroom Mural Commission in The Showroom Library as a living ecosystem of local responses in our neighbourhood; whilst tracing the roots of the work during her residency with Future Assembly at Wysing Arts Centre in 2019.
Full details, booking links and screening times for the month ahead are below. We look forward to welcoming you!
The Showroom Team
Presented alongside is Aivazian’s recent visual essay Prometheus, 2019. Mobilising a mode of non-linear narrative address, the film draws geopoetic parallels between two events, both occurring in the early 1990s: taking the first Gulf War as one point of departure, and the presence of the United States basketball team - nicknamed the 'Dream Team' - at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona as another.
Haig Aivazian: All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes
Exhibition continues until Saturday 26 March 2022
Open Wednesday-Saturday, 12-5.30pm
Bringing together new iterations of artist Haig Aivazian’s long-term research surrounding surveillance strategies in public space, the exhibition includes a new presentation of the eponymous video essay, All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes, in which Aivazian opens up reflections upon the use of light to spot, invigilate and make visible; as well as its use as a tool to divert attention.
Tracing the public administration of light and darkness as a policing strategy, the work focuses as much on where light is shed as on what is purposely left in the dark.
The work presents paradigm shifts in hard and soft power, exploring how fire has been mobilised since its theft from the heights of Mount Olympus to its unleashing on the oil fields of Kuwait as Iraq withdrew in the face of the United States. Fire travels through the work as a protagonist; tracing the long history of technicity and its weaponisation.
All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes and Prometheus play alternately in the installation, with eight loops per day:
12-12.40pm / 12.40-1.20pm / 1.20-2pm / 2-2.40pm
2.40-3.20pm / 3.20-4pm / 4-4.40pm / 4.40-5.20pm
All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes is commissioned as part of The Consortium Commissions, a project initiated by Mophradat. All of the Lights, the first presentation of Aivazian’s new project, was presented by The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in 2021.
Mhamad Safa, BlastFoam computational fluid dynamics modelling of a Blastwave, obstructed by concrete structures. Edited video screenshot, 2022. Courtesy of Synthetik Applied Technologies
Tuesday 8 March 2022
At The Showroom
Please note, this event is now fully booked, but a recording and transcript will be available via The Showroom Library and the Soncities websites soon after.
How can the production of sound and practices of listening operate as modes of resistance and rebuilding in times of conflict and crisis?
Countersonics: Radical Sonic Imaginaries is a new series convened by Gascia Ouzounian exploring sonic tactics for building counter-narratives to contested events, spaces, places and communities. The discussion will focus on Safa’s research as an architect and sound producer, in particular his work on urban acoustics during aerial strikes on Beirut, taking his recently published article Reverberations and Post-War Trauma, 2022 as a point of departure. Together with Ouzounian, Safa will discuss his investigation of the role of echo and reverberation in Beirut; as well as post-war trauma and listening cultures in Lebanon.
This event is co-presented by The Showroom and Gascia Ouzounian. It forms part of the public programme for Haig Aivazian's current exhibition, All of your Stars are but Dust on my Shoes at The Showroom. There will be a special screening from 5.30-6.10pm on the night.
Barbara McCullough, Water Ritual #1: An urban rite of purification, film still, 1979. Courtesy of Barbara McCullough and Third World Newsreel
If you attended our Streams of Memories online screening programme in January, CAS and The Showroom would love to hear from you via our short online survey, here.
Your answers will be anonymous and the survey takes approximately ten minutes. Your feedback will be invaluable in helping CAS and The Showroom to reflect upon and continue to develop projects like these; creating access to historical and contemporary critical pedagogies from the African continent and diaspora, and more.
Streams of Memories marked the culmination of Culture Art Society (CAS)’s year-long research residency with The Showroom at Metroland Studio, Kilburn. The programme presented five experimental short films by S. Pearl Sharp, Barbara McCullough, Kym Ragusa, Omah Diegu and Martina Attille; exploring the ways in which these filmmakers weave and unravel stories, fears and hopes across the African continent and diaspora, between generations and over time. The reading group drew upon the essay Why Black Cinema? by the late poet Toni Cade Bambara, reflecting upon and responding to the five experimental short films in the programme.
Symbiosis, solidarity and sisterhood
with SIMNIKIWE BUHLUNGU
The Showroom Mural Commission – Simnikiwe Buhlungu: Notes to Self (Intimate 1), 2019. Photo: Max Colson
The Showroom sends congratulations to artist Simnikiwe Buhlungu for her inclusion in the central exhibition of this year's iteration of the Venice Biennale, which will run from 23 April–27 November 2022. The exhibition, curated by Cecilia Alemani, responds to Leonora Carrington's work and writing, in particular her book The Milk of Dreams, echoing stories of symbiosis, solidarity and sisterhood (Sam Gaskin, Ocula).
Simnikiwe Buhlungu worked with us in 2019 to activate The Showroom's emblematic facade. Her mural commission, Notes to Self (Intimate 1), remains on view until Spring 2022. For those unable to visit us in person, you can listen-in remotely via The Showroom Library online, here.
Simnikiwe Buhlungu, Tape Cover, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.
Notes to Self (Intimate 1) has been a site-specific installation where passers-by can record their 'notes to self'; to be listened to, manifested and archived as a living ecosystem of local responses. Simnikiwe's mural extends from an ongoing mixtape project, *Notes To Self: A Mixtapenyana*, whereby she explores the idea of self, s(p)lace and strolling as a form of knowledge production.
Initially developed during her participation in a residency hosted by Future Assembly between Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge and London in May 2019, the project follows recollections interrogating the idea of selfhood in relation to a constellation of encounters with distinct environments, people, narratives, happenings and ecologies.