The Best of Sammy Clark (installation, 2008) is a tribute to Raed Yassin's fictive mentor, the eponymous Lebanese pop culture icon, and a contrived genealogy, which links the artist to the 1980s singer. The installation features 4 turntables simultaneously playing a different Sammy Clark LP, placed at the centre of a vivid pink and green room. A group of frames contain a series of digitally manipulated photographs, in which Sammy Clark appears to entertain the Yassin family, during a birthday party. A text indicates that these objects are the only remains after an explosion that destroyed the Yassin family apartment during the Lebanese civil war.
The installation points at a representational rift between the lived experience and the normativity of its conventional forms of documentation (be it the family photograph or the news report), which Yassin addresses by inserting imagined memories to complete the ‘real' story. The resulting narrative is openly personal, subjective, and navigates the thin line between historical truth and fiction. The Best of Sammy Clark contemplates the erosion of memory and of narrative possibilities and explores the limitations of the artist's memory apparatus through the lens of consumer culture and popular music.
The exhibition is complemented by a series of events, performances and screenings which further explore the intersection between popular music, radio and writing, curated by Rayya Badran. Entitled Sonic Grounds, this programme is organized to coincide with both Raed Yassin's exhibition The Best of Sammy Clark and the New Writing residency (in collaboration with Bidoun magazine) currently taking place at the Delfina Foundation. Please see below for further details.
Sonic Grounds, curated by Rayya Badran
A series of talks and performances throughout January and February 2011.
Video screening: Featuring Mahmoud Yassin
Wednesday 12 January, 18:00 - 20:00, followed by a conversation between Raed Yassin and Rayya Badran.
The Aural Contract Audio Archive Evening
Tuesday 1 February 2011, 19:00-20:30, with Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Surface Noise: Hauntology and the Metaphysics of Crackle
Wednesday 9 February 2011, 19:00-20:30, with Mark Fisher
Sonic Grounds aims to unpack some of the underlying topics and thoughts that emanate from Yassin's contextual work on music and video by expanding the discussion to a number of UK-based practitioners, with view to yield different interpretations and readings to sampling, popular culture and the politics of aurality.
The talks aimed to draw on Raed Yassin's current exhibition The Best of Sammy Clark on show at the Delfina Foundation as well as Rayya Badran's current research by exploring different understandings and approaches to the culture of sampling, sonic archives and contemporary music in general by practitioners working in the UK. Rayya was a resident artist at The Delfina Foundation in collaboration with Bidoun Magazine and the British Council.
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, London-based artist and writer, will present a live listening session, part of his ongoing and growing audio archive, in which the audience takes part in a listening experience that aims to unpack "the politics of sound and the conditions of voice".
Mark Fisher, famous blogger (k-punk), writer and theorist, will take us through this notion of hauntology in contemporary music and film.