A major new film commission by Lawrence Abu Hamdan focusing on the Haskell Free Library and Opera House – a unique municipal site between the jurisdictions of Canada and the USA. Telling stories of permeable borders and impermeable laws, the work reflects on how free movement, free knowledge and free space are under threat.
Commissioned by Spike Island, Bristol; the Toronto Biennial; Mercer Union, Toronto; Sharjah Art Foundation; and the Western Front, Vancouver. Produced by LONO Studio and supported by Arts Council England and the Ford Foundation. The exhibition is part of the West of England Visual Arts Alliance programme, supported by Arts Council England.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan (b.1985, Amman) is a “Private Ear”. His interest in sound and its intersection with politics originates from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music. The artist’s audio investigations have 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 completed his PhD in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London (2017) and has undertaken fellowships at the Gray Centre for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, New York.
Abu Hamdan has exhibited his work at the 58th Venice Biennale; the 11th Gwanju Biennale; the 13th and 14th Sharjah Biennial; Witte De With, Rotterdam;Tate Modern Tanks, London; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Portikus Frankfurt; The Showroom, London; and Casco, Utrecht. His works are part of collections at MoMA; Guggenheim, (both New York); Van AbbeMuseum, Eindhoven; Centre Pompidou, Paris; and Tate Modern, London. Abu Hamdan’s work has been awarded the 2019 Edvard Munch Art Award, the 2016 Nam June Paik Award for new media, and in 2017 his film Rubber Coated Steel won the Tiger short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival. For the 2019 Turner Prize, Abu Hamdan – together with nominated artists Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo and Tai Shani – formed a temporary collective in order to be jointly granted the award.