JAMES WEBB

new projects & works in progress

Untitled (Al Madat)

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A recording of a Sufi dhikr undertaken by patients at the Sultan Bahu Rehab Centre in Westridge, Mitchell’s Plain. Dhikr (literally, “remembrance”) is a traditional Islamic recitation, where sacred names are chanted with special breathing techniques, often creating trance-like effects. This practice was brought to the Cape with the Malay slaves, and is now used by the rehabilitation centre as an augmentation to the curative process. “Al Madat,” the specific dhikr used for this installation, translates as “help,” and is here used to implore the Prophet for assistance. 

Started by Shafiek Davids in 2005, the Sultan Bahu Centre is a non-profit organisation in the field of substance abuse – mainly heroin and methamphetamine (tik) – in both Mitchell’s Plain and Bonteheuwel. The centre operates as a drug treatment facility in lower socio-economic communities, offering a six-week intensive day programme with continual care thereafter.

Sultan Bahu (1628 – 1691) was an Islamic scholar, poet and Sufi saint, founder of the Sawari Qadiri Sufi Order.

Audio extracts can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/theotherjameswebb/sets/sultan-bahu-rehabilitation

Photograph by Kyle Morland

Children of the Revolution

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A re-working of the eponymous T.Rex glam rock anthem into an isiXhosa protest song. The track was rearranged in collaboration with composer and choir leader Bongani Magatyana, and is here presented in speaker cabinets visually quoting the Intonarumori noise-generating machines of the Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo.

The audio component of this installation was commissioned by the National Arts Festival for the exhibition Imaginary Fact at the 2013 Venice Biennale.

The audio can be heard here: http://soundcloud.com/theotherjameswebb/children-of-the-revolution

Photo by Kyle Morland

Let Me Lose Myself

Let Me Lose Myself is an audio guide to the Skogskyrkogården (Woodland cemetery) in Stockholm.

The artist invited a group of people to send him their positions on the subject of uncertainty. The submissions included mathematical formulae, photographs, diary entries, intimate text messages, recipes, literary quotations, audio recordings and scenes from films. The poet and playwright Genna Gardini was then commissioned to spend time with these ideas and to be influenced by them. Gardini collated and edited the material and wrote a text that would become the underlying script for the piece. Actress Josefin Ljungman read the text, directed by the artist, and the piece was edited and mixed for headphones. The audio guide can be downloaded for free at www.letmelosemyself.com As is the nature of the subject, there are no further instructions or prescribed path for listeners to walk along. 

The project was curated by Bettina Schultz for CCseven, with the collaboration of EMS, Anneli Bäckman, Joanna Sandell and Botkyrka Konstall. Photograph by Alexander Benz.

The Conversation (Egebjerg)

By invitation of the Odsherred Kulturfestival, the artist lived with different families over the course of two weeks in the small town of Egebjerg in Sjæland, Denmark. He conducted interviews with the residents, compiling and sealing these audio recordings into a time capsule that was buried in the town’s park and due to be opened on the 4th of August 2103.

For the duration of the festival, the artist was available to walk with visitors in Egebjerg and hold a private conversation.

There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

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"There Is A Light That Never Goes Out" in the exhibition "Shuffling Cards", curated by Cécile Bourne Farrell for Art-Cade, Marseille, image by Christophe Galatry. — at Marseille, Art-Cade.

Illuminated Nothing

A white neon, calligraphic rendition of the Japanese word “Mu” (the equivalent to the Chinese character “Wu”), meaning “nothingness” and “without.” 

BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT

The electrical lighting of a space is connected to a motion sensor so that when visitors walk under an overhead light, the light switches off. The artwork allows for visitors to always walk in darkness.

Silent Zone

For the duration of the vernissage, the gallery audience are required to refrain from talking while inside the exhibition.

You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger

An audio intervention wherein the sounds of a young girl coughing are diffused in an otherwise ordinary, public space. The speakers broadcasting these soft yet abject sounds are concealed (normally behind existing curtains in the space), and the audience are left to wonder the source and meaning of the sound. The audio is mixed so as to sound as lifelike as possible and is broadcast randomly for a few seconds every 10-minutes or so. The artwork is not announced or accredited.

My World Against Yours (for Julia Hummer)

The performer is instructed to play the radio and sing. The premier of this work was performed by Julia Hummer at 2081 Johannesburg, and curated by Christian Roth.