James Webb: We Listen for the Future

James Webb, All that is unknown, 2016. Courtesy the artist, blank projects, Galerie Imane Farès. Image 1 of 4
Open images in Lightbox
James Webb, Untitled (with the sound of its own making), 2016. Courtesy the artist, blank projects, Galerie Imane Farés. Image 2 of 4
Open images in Lightbox
James Webb, All that is unknown, 2016. Courtesy the artist, blank projects, Galerie Imane Farès. Image 3 of 4
Open images in Lightbox
James Webb, All that is unknown, 2016. Courtesy the artist, blank projects, Galerie Imane Farés. Image 4 of 4
Open images in Lightbox
01.10.16 - 05.03.17
Chapel and open air
YSP presents work by interdisciplinary, South African artist, James Webb. Considered to be one of the pioneers of sound art, the artist showcases We Listen for the Future, an exhibition comprising of four sound pieces. Webb will also take up residency at YSP in 2018, resulting in a new site-specific work for the Park.

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Born in 1975 in Kimberley, South Africa, Webb is one of the foremost artists of his generation and is known especially for his sound installations. Untitled (with the sound of its own making), 2016, fills the Chapel and references the influential Robert Morris work Box with the Sound of its Own Making, 1961. This powerful wall of loudspeakers broadcasts the rhythmic sound of hands beating on doors. It resonates physically and references ancient law of religious sanctuary, as well as the current refugee crisis. In contrast, All that is Unknown, 2016, comprises a pair of speakers separated by the length of a room, playing the sound of heartbeats at the threshold of audibility so that they can only be experienced in close quarters, drawing us into a space that is intimate by association.

In the open air, There’s no place called home, 2004–, is a site-specific element of an on-going project to locate foreign birdsong in non-native environments. It uses a contrasting and mixed audio soundtrack to appear as “real” and “lifelike” as possible. It is especially pertinent in the manmade Bretton Estate of YSP and so near to the home of Charles Waterton at Walton Hall, who was one of the first naturalists and known for introducing the little owl to Britain.

We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far, 2012 introduces to YSP the calls of jackals from partner organisation the NIROX Foundation Trust. NIROX is based in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, an area listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site on account of its extraordinary palaeo-anthropological treasures and unique landscape.
 

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Although this exhibition has closed, I am pleased to find these helpful pages that describe it so well. It made a great impact on my two young granddaughters when we visited at half term. It helped to explain the idea of sanctuary so well and weeks later they remain intrigued by it. The activity bag that was available was so well put together too. A wonderful work, thank you YSP.
BGS on James Webb: We Listen for the Future

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