Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Lawrence Abu Hamdan lives and works in Dubai, AE
Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist, writer, and researcher whose work takes the form of audio documentary, film, performance, and installation. In his practice as Private Ear, he has engaged subjects whose lived experiences and human rights have fallen through the interstices of official records or history. Spanning the civil and the criminal, the theological and the supernatural, Abu Hamdan has expanded the possibilities of forensic analysis and visualization, illuminating dissonances in language and speech, which fosters a concerted engagement in “the politics of listening.”
In Air Conditioning (2022), Abu Hamdan has painstakingly assembled details of Israeli military plane surveillance over Lebanon during a fifteen-year period. Composed of individual documents from the United Nations Digital Library, these violations of the sky are mapped into a sprawling composite image, evoking Abu Hamdan’s concept of atmospheric violence. This invisible warfare has the potential to induce all manner of traumatic aftereffects in the populace below—from heart disease to hearing loss. Air Conditioning brings this to light for the first time in a public forum.
Following the 2006 July War, Israel commenced a distinct form of warfare—an auditory conditioning of Lebanese airspace, initially carried out with F-35 fighter jets, then UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and nimble low-flying drones. The picaresque image before us is simultaneously digital and material—distilled through the CGI software Houdini, traditionally used to animate smoke and plumes in movies. In this expansive field, the plush skies associated with Romantic history painting are evoked and gradually transmuted through the discolored particulates that inhabit its pregnant clouds. The sonic air pollution overhead is converted into ocular form, illuminating a dissonant aesthetic politics, with each centimeter exemplifying a single day in the life of the Lebanese sky from 2007 to 2021.
Air Conditioning presents a visceral experience of aerial subjugation. Although in Lebanon these singular violations are seemingly short-lived, Abu Hamdan presents them as an accumulated event, akin to the aftermath of a fifteen-year explosion.
The website www.airpressure.info, designed by Moritz Ebeling, is being launched in conjunction with the installation.
The Sonic Image, 2022, Sharjah Art Foundation, Dubai (AE)
Polyphone. Polyphonies Visuelles et Sonores, 2022, Musée d’Art et d’Histoire Paul Eluard, Saint-Denis (FR)
Information (Today), 2022, Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo (NO)
Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Green Coconuts and Other Inadmissible Evidence, 2020, Wiener Secession, Vienna (AT) (solo)
The Voice Before the Law, 2019, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin, Berlin (DE) (solo)
Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, 2019, Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism, Munich (DE)