A Call from the Library
→ Evolution Isn’t Fast Enough: ‘A Call from the Library’
A group field writing 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 former public library.
A Call from the Library was a live performance installation situated throughout a former library building, which in turn, composed a live sound composition. The project was a collaboration between artist Lisa Skuret and sound artist Seth Ayyaz stemming from a week long residency and field writing exercise in the building.
The material under investigation was the former Rose Lipman Library – recently decommissioned from its intended use in a regeneration area, and situated on a housing estate in Hackney. Through their different practices, Skuret and Ayyaz built an open system to listen to rooms and architectural spaces, to, in effect, play these spaces into new configurations through live sound and text. The results of their research activities in the library was a live installation or site-responsive durational performance; a weekend long continuation of their field writing process in which the building began to ‘speak’ of possible futures through a new composition generated through live process. During the live performance installation, Skuret and Ayyaz were joined by vocal improvisors Guy Harries and Kay Grant, and members of the public.
Extract from essay on A Call from the Library, titled ‘On Building a Voice’ by Dr. Zeynep Bulut (Kings College) which was presented at Embodied Sound symposium (2015), The Centre for Performing Arts Development (CPAD), University of East London.
‘“The building is the score,” writes Skuret. Following this cue, the installation draws attention to the act of building as a process of listening and playing with the space, with one another. That is, the building itself speaks with the participants, with a voice that is not necessarily known or given, a voice that allows us to question the limits of knowing in the first place. The nature of this voice comes into presence with the process of building a voice together. The implication here is that the activity of building and the voice that emerges from this activity are communal and exploratory, embodied and live. This voice is neither known nor pretending to know. More significantly, it can afford a state of not knowing.’
A Call from the Library forms one strand of Communal Materials; Or, Evolution Isn’t Fast Enough a speculative project by artist Lisa Skuret.
Supported and funded by Arts Council England. With special thanks to the Department of Music at City University London.
Live Performance Installation: Saturday, 6 September 2-8pm – Sunday, 7 September 2-6pm
Video documentation (above)
Stills & Bios (below):
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.