Lawrence Abu Hamdan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a 2015-2017 Vera List Center Fellow, whose fellowship project is part of the Vera List Center's Post Democracy cycle of programs.

The artist's work often explores the role of voice in law and the politics of listening. During his fellowship at the VLC, and in collaboration with faculty and students in fall 2016, Abu Hamdan will develop a new case study on ShotSpotter, a technology that registers gunshots, alerts police of their whereabouts, and is at this point installed throughout New York City. Abu Hamdan will lead an audio investigation into Shotspotter as a way to not only understand this algorithmic surveillance technology but to raise fundamental questions about the politics of representation, in particular the limits of free speech and the diminishing possibilities of recourse to silence.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and audio investigator. His interest in sound and its intersection with politics originate 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, by organizations such as Amnesty International and are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths College London where he received his PhD in 2017. Abu Hamdan was the recipient of the 2018 Abraaj group art prize, his film Rubber Coated Steel 2016 won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival 2017 and his exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Other solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum L.A (2018), Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013), The Showroom, London (2012), Casco, Utrecht (2012). Abu Hamdan is the author of the artist book [inaudible]: A politics of listening in 4 acts, and a forthcoming ebook produced as part of his 2015–17 fellowship at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.
    • Lawrence Abu Hamdan, GIDEST video portrait
Working with documentaries, essays, audio-visual installations, video works, sculpture, photography, workshops and performance Lawrence Abu Hamdan addresses the relationship between listening and politics, borders, human rights, testimony and truth through the production of documentaries, essays, audio-visual installations, video works, sculpture, photography, workshops and performance. His previous solo exhibitions include تقيه (taqiyya) at Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2015), Tape Echo (2013) at Beirut in Cairo and Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Freedom Of Speech Itself (2012) at Showroom, London, and The Whole Truth (2012) at Casco, Utrecht. Additionally his works have been exhibited and performed at venues such as New Museum Triennial (2015), The Shanghai Biennial (2014), The Whitechapel Gallery London, MACBA Barcelona, Tate Modern London, M HKA Antwerp, the Beirut Art Center and The Taipei Biennial (2012).

Abu Hamdan was the Armory Show-commissioned artist in 2015, and delivered the keynote speech at the VLC's Politics of Listening symposium in March 2015. The artist's forensic audio investigations are conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths College, London, where he is also a PhD candidate. Abu Hamdan's writing can be found in Forensis (Sternberg Press), Manifesta Journal and Cabinet magazine.

The artist presented "The Right to Lie" at The New School's Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography and Social Thought (GIDEST) on April 29, 2016.

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