Sound and Visual Installation
Haجar and the Anجel was acreative response to The Hunterian’s exhibitionof the s ame title from Writer Madeleine Campbell, Sonic Artist Bethan Parkes and Visual Artist Birthe Jorgensen. This collaboration arose from the ongoing project Jetties, which is based on Campbell’s translations of poems by the recently deceased Algerian Author Mohammed Dib. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a rare work by 18th century Scottish painter John Runciman. In the tradition of heroic, narrative paintings, Runciman’s painting Hagar and the Angel (c. 1766) evokes the Old Testament story in which Abraham’s slave Hagar bore him a son and was banished with their child Ishmael to the desert.
Runciman’s setting is more reminiscent of a Scottish glen than of the arid desert of Beersheba. Playing with this culturally dislocated quality of Runciman’s painting, Hagar and the Angel draws on Dib’s retelling of the story in his poetry collection L’Aube Ismaël (Dawn Ismaël, 1996) to engage with current themes of identity, exile and migration.
This installation was displayed at The Hunterian Art Gallery, 21 - 26 May 2013. For more information, download the Leaflet accompanying the installation:
This sound file features Frances Higson reciting Madeleine Campbell’s translation of Mohammed Dib’s poem ‘Hagar aux Cris’ (Haجar awakens), and is followed by an excerpt from Bethan Parkes’ full-length soundscape for the installation, featuring fragments of the poem recited in Scottish, Francophone and Arabic voices and constructed around the creation of ‘sound dunes’. Taking the shifting topography of sand dunes as they are shaped constantly by the wind as a basis, Parkes constructed, in acoustic space, shifting, ephemeral structures, made out of tiny short fragments, or grains, of sound. These granular textures, made from various sources, and shaped in response to a field recording of the wind, evoke an atmospheric sense of “desert-ness” which is not simply a referential or metaphorical one, but a nomadic embodiment of these fragmented and dispersed voices.
The original full-length soundscape for the installation Haجar and the Anجel can be found on the following link:
Haجar and the Anجel II
In the next phase of this project we are seeking to extend the installation’s reach through the medium of dance and movement and to apply our respective practices in new or previously unexplored dimensions. We are currently developing scores with dancers Tom Pritchard, Laura Gonzalez and Marta Masiero with a view to staging workshops and performances throughout Scotland.
For further information contact Madeleine Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org