This year and in the years to come, sound will become a focal point of the Haus der Kunst
program. Plans include a series of musical performances and a new commissioned acoustic work that will permeate the Terrace Hall for a year. Tune is located between the realms of sound, music, and visual art. This offering of a collective experience and unique listening experiences will be encountered throughout the museum in the form of installation and performance.
The participating artists share a common interest in how sound flows through, intersects with, and transforms the material world. Their work evokes the unknown and demonstrates how sound can both provide orientation and disorient us. Sound is the form of expression most easily liberated from its context: It can move freely through and between cultures. In the process, sound is constantly recoded, and often used as a form of exploitation. If one pays attention not only to how sound is read, but allows oneself to be touched by it, it reveals its fullness. Sound has an immensely physical character and at the same time connects us to the ethereal. This year's artists focus on these possibilities of sound.
Lamin Fofana realizes a commissioned acoustic work for the Terrace Hall at Haus der Kunst with the title A call to disorder. His multisensory installation also incorporates smell, light, and atmosphere. In addition, Fofana hosts several acoustic happenings. His first live performance will take place on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 and is titled Ode to Impurity.
Fofana uses sound to take his audience into the realm of dream imagery, where the cyclical narrative forms of our ancestors reverberate like an echo. His electronic instrumental music connects ideas of Blackness, migration, displacement, and race with something otherworldly, and brings nonlinear thought and experience into focus. The elegy Here lies universality laments the dominance of Western music theory: its basic structure is rooted in the legacy of the Enlightenment, imperialism, and white supremacy, and their persisting mechanisms of exclusion. Fofana's tightly woven interests in history, contemporary conditions, and his method of translating text into the emotional medium of sound are expressed in multisensory live performances and large, minimalist installations that combine original compositions, field recordings, and archival material. His goal is to create a space of encounter where people collectively listen, dream, think the unthinkable. At the same time, the artist makes it clear that dissonance and disturbance are the purpose and not harmony.
A call to disorder is inspired by the seminal work of Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, The Undercommons, which expresses a call for chaos or wildness, for noise, cacophony, and the extra-musical. As attention to the historical aftermath of institutionalized oppression increases, the spaces for reflection that Fofana's work opens are more relevant than ever.
Fofana lives and works in Berlin as an artist and music producer. He grew up in Sierra Leone and Guinea, moved to the US in 1997 and to Germany in 2016. He became known in the fields of both electronic music and visual art. His most recent musical work appeared in 2020 as a trilogy of three albums; it looks at historical and epistemological trajectories of contemporary social and political thought through the lens of Black Studies. The first album, Black Metamorphosis, is inspired by Sylvia Wynter's unpublished manuscript of the same name and asks what happens when African aesthetics are transposed to the West. For the second, Darkwater, Fofana turned to legendary Black writer, scholar, activist , and history's first African-American to earn a doctorate, W. E. B. Du Bois. I Ran From It And Was Still In It is from Fofana's adaptation of Darkwater: Voices from within the Veil, a 1920 collection of autobiographical essays and speculative fiction. The third album, Blues, is a meditative response to Amiri Baraka's Blues People: Negro Music in White America (1963).
This year, Fofana was nominated for the National Gallery Prize and the Liverpool Biennial commissioned him for a work. Other recent exhibitions include Blues at the Mishkin Gallery at Baruch College, City University of New York (2020), Refracted Gazes/Fugitive Dreams at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2019), WITNESS at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), and performances at documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens (2017).
My interest here is in collapsing the distinction between reflection and action. The world is falling apart. Who gets to tune in and drop out? Lamin Fofana