Isabel Lewis’ works raise salient awareness of multi-relational spaces and their production of shared knowledge extending beyond rational realms of exchange. For SB14, Lewis expands her interest in non-human agentic capacities, using the associative bond between musician and instrument as a guide. Although the musician has a technical relationship with an instrument that in turn generates music, the music itself becomes a third agent alongside the other two actors.
Untitled (juice, inwardness, natures)(2019) is a choreographic work directed by Lewis with set design and sound made in collaboration with Matthew Lutz-Kinoy and HACKLANDER / HATAM. For the opening of SB14, a violinist and flutist improvise with digital field recordings captured at Kalba Nature Reserve, cars enter into an ensemble with a dancer, and the beating of far-away drums intermingles with the screeching of pigeons and algorithmic sound compositions. The sun is filtered through coloured acrylic panels casting shadows that exaggerate the geometric lines of the factory's architecture. Lutz-Kinoy's paintings serve as both canopy and backdrop, their texture and stained layers entering into a dance with the live action and sound elements. Throughout spaces in and around the Kalba Ice Factory, active listening is encouraged as numerous sonic events unfold over time, including the discrete practices of musicians Ziad Baig, Nagham Debal, Reemaz AlOqbi, Lydia Shephard and the ensemble Aya African Drum and Dance. The factory becomes a theatre, the theatre becomes a synaesthetic installation and the installation becomes a social situation as visitors stroll together around the site.
Beyond the opening, the elements of sound and painting continue to evolve. Algorithmic processes of sound are regularly re-evaluated, creating a unique expression of the sonic environment for each new day of the exhibition. The paintings, installed in a way that invites interaction with the wind, structure a viewing environment that both shrinks the viewer and hosts moments of pause.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber