A Call from the Library
A Call from the Library was a two-day live installation and live sound composition which took place throughout a former public library situated on a housing estate in Hackney. Re-imagining the library through the possibilities of sound and listening, the work was a collective exercise in ‘listening to’ and ‘playing’ the public library as a building, a concept, utopian project and space of knowledge production. The ‘score’ was a constellation which included the building, an instructional score, and live text.
The material under investigation was the former Rose Lipman Library, recently decommissioned from its intended use in a regeneration area. After a week residency in the building, artist Lisa Skuret and musician Seth Ayyaz began to build open systems (involving gestures, texts, machine listening, algorithm…) to listen to the existing building architecture in order to, in effect, play these spaces into new, more porous configurations. Their research activities continued and were made public though a live installation in which the building began to ‘speak’ of possible futures. For the live installation/sound composition Skuret and Ayyaz were joined by other field writers: vocal improvisors Guy Harries and Kay Grant, and members of the public.
Extract from essay ‘On Building a Voice’ by Dr. Zeynep Bulut (Kings College) which was written in response to A Call from the Library. The paper was presented at Embodied Sound symposium at CPAD (The Centre for Performing Arts Development), University of East London.
A Call from the Library forms one strand of Communal Materials; Or, Evolution Isn’t Fast Enough a speculative project by artist Lisa Skuret.
Live Performance Installation: Saturday, 6 September 2-8pm – Sunday, 7 September 2-6pm
Video documentation (above)
Lisa Skuret is an artist and writer. One of her central concerns is knowledge production, and her practice combines ideas and methods from various disciplines, often through live work. Text and expanded writing techniques – including sound, voice, and physical action, are components of both live and installed work in which she creates performative responses to institutions, objects and everyday spaces. Skuret works both independently and collectively with international art research groups such as Vision Forum (Linköpings University, Sweden). Recent exhibitions and live events have taken place at a Swedenborgian Church after service; Museum of Work (Sweden); Spike Island; David Roberts Art Foundation; Parasol Unit; and MoMA PS1 (New York).
Seth Ayyaz is a composer-performer spanning live electronics, free improv, noise, electroacoustics and Arabic music. Specialising in live electronics and machine-listening, Ayyaz builds custom software/hardware ecologies for specific performances. Drawing on his background in neurosciences, his work is concerned with (dis)embodied perceptions and how these resonate across psychological and social spaces. At present his main interest is improvising with other listening machines, human or otherwise. Ayyaz has presented his work internationally including at the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Finland; Cafe Oto, London; Kunsthalle Luzern, Switzerland; Irtijal festival, Beirut; Haus Für Elektronische Künste, Basel; and Maerz Music, Berlin.
Kay Grant‘s work is informed by a range of stylistic experience in jazz, improvisation, opera, oratorio, rock and pop, and a consideration of the voice as an instrumental component rather than a privileged expressive vehicle. Originally from New York, she worked with such downtown heavyweights as John Zorn, Shelley Hirsch and Elliott Sharp before relocating to London. She has collaborated with many musicians including Alex Ward, John Russell, Veryan Weston, Alison Blunt and Hannah Marshall, and sings with the Hauntological Orchestra and Ad Libitum Chamber Choir. An ‘extraordinary vocal talent and one of London’s finest, free-thinking virtuosos’ (Time Out).
Guy Harries performs and composes with voice, electronics, and acoustic instruments, and is involved in projects ranging from garage rock to chamber opera, from sound art to electro art pop and multimedia musicals. He has had the pleasure of collaborating with: Meira Asher, Luc Houtkamp, The Pow Ensemble, Yumi Hara, Sharon Gal, Han Buhrs, David Fenech, Maya Dunietz and Wajid Yaseen. His work was released on the labels Sub Rosa, X-OR, Migro and Auditorium Edizioni.