In Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s performance Contra Diction, he seeks to explore the ways in which our right to silence can be preserved in today’s All-Hearing and All-Speaking society. In his reappraisal of silence and its politics Abu Hamdan will look into the linguistics of Taqiyya, an old piece of islamic jurisprudence practiced only by esoteric minorities that allows a believing individual to deny his faith or commit otherwise illegal acts while they are at risk of persecution or in a condition of statelessness. By looking into stories of alleged mass conversions of the Druze minority in northern Syria Abu Hamdan indicates how such minor speech acts can help us re-appraise the precision of speaking, the multiple ways of remaining silent and the inherently unfaithful nature of ones voice.
Abu Hamdan’s performance is a part of the Biennial’s weekly Performance and Reading Program: Isonomia in Toronto, a series which takes place within Adrian Blackwell’s two interrelated structures at 259 Lake Shore Blvd E and the Small Arms Inspection Building. Invited guests include poet CAConrad, artists Camilo Godoy and Lou Sheppard, Apache violinist Laura Ortman, Sister Co-Resister, and percussionist Marshall Trammell.
Image: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Contra Diction, 2015, performance view at Cornerhouse Manchester. Photo: Courtesy the artist.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (born in Emman, Jordan; lives in Beirut, Lebanon) is a “Private Ear”. His interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music. The artists audio investigations has been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International together with fellow researchers from Forensic Architecture. Abu Hamdan received his PhD in 2017 from Goldsmiths College London.
In 2019 Abu Hamdan was nominated for the Turner Prize for his exhibition Earwitness Theatre and his performance After Sfx. In 2017 his film Rubber Coated Steel won the Tiger short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival, The audience award at 25 FPS Festival in Zagreb, and the Dialog Award at European Media Art festival in Osnabruk. In 2016 he won the Nam June Paik Award for new media.
His solo presentations have taken place at Witte De With, Rotterdam (2019), Tate Modern Tanks & Chisenhale Gallery, London, Hammer Museum L.A (2018), Portikus Frankfurt (2016), Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013), The Showroom, London (2012), Casco, Utrecht (2012). His works are part of collections at MoMA, Guggenheim, Van AbbeMuseum, Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern.