Susan Philipsz, recent winner of the prestigious 2010 Turner Prize, presents a newly commissioned sound installation, We Shall Be All, along with The Internationale at an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art
(MCA), Chicago, from February 26 to June 5, 2011. Philipsz's performative sound works echo the history, literature, and music of their sites. For her exhibition, strategically placed audio speakers project her voice singing The Internationale (1999) in the atrium, and We Shall Be All in the fourth-floor galleries.
For her a cappella recordings, Philipsz deliberately selects particular pieces of music to reinterpret vocally and then separates the multiple audio tracks so that the "viewers" experience different voices as they move through a space. Philipsz said about her work We Shall Be All at the MCA Chicago, Against the backdrop of the modernist architecture of the city, I see the voice as a means to infiltrate spaces, like a ghost in the machine, and return experience to a human scale. I also see the voice as a means to address people both individually and as a collective. Experiencing a lone, disembodied voice in a public setting can produce a strange experience among an unsuspecting audience, like feeling alone in a crowd.
Philipsz was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1965, a place she feels shares a rich labor history with Chicago, including an association with the International Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies. For We Shall Be All, Philipsz studied the history of Chicagos different political collectives and gatherings that came before and after the IWW, such as the Haymarket demonstrations in 1886 and the first wave of German and Irish immigrants in the 1800s, as well as the citys rich and expansive musical history.
Susan Philipsz currently lives and works in Berlin. She recently received the 2010 Turner Prize and opened a major project with the London-based public art institution Artangel in October 2010. Her work has been included in Skulptur Projekte Munster in 2007 and at the 2008 Carnegie International. She has recently created solo projects for the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus; Creative Time in New York City, and the Silo Monastery in Burgos, Spain (commissioned by the Reina Sofia, Madrid).