Sound Like Her

Curated with Christine Eyene, known for her enquiry into contemporary African art, gendered perspectives and non-object based art practices – Sounds Like Her (2017) is a groundbreaking exhibition, set to broaden existing approaches to sound art and to contest Eurocentric and patriarchal frameworks that have informed sound art practice and, arguably continue to dominate the scene today. The exhibition proposes to challenge the patriarchal and Eurocentric frameworks that have informed the history of sound art and to some extent, continue to dominate the scene today. Using sound as material or subject, the works selected—including new commissions—address sound in the broadest sense through voice, language, noise, textures, music, sonic structures and non-sonic materialisations of sound. The result is a varied mixed media project bringing together archive material, audio, painting, prints, drawings, video, immersive installations and interactive practice.

The project brings together seven women artists from diverse cultures, each exploring sound as a medium or subject matter: Ain Bailey, Sonia Boyce MBE RA, Linda O’Keeffe, Elsa M’bala, Madeleine Mbida, Magda Sta- warska-Beavan and Christine Sun Kim.

Bia Kud Si 3 is a new work commissioned for Sounds Like Her. It consists of a Cameroonian slit drum called a nkul coupled with a Raspberry Pie, a small computer that can be used to learn programming in a playful way. Helped with instructions drafted by the artist, visitors are invited to put on headphones, listen to a set of rhythms performed by a student of Cameroonian master percussionist Man Ekang, and repeat the sounds heard.

The graphics on the screen inform the players as to whether they have managed to play the rhythmic structure accurately. As the participants interact with the instrument, they become active contributors to the exhibition’s sonic environment.. The title of the work is an Ewondo phrase – a language spoken by the Beti people mostly located in the region of Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. The three words translate as follows: ‘Bia’ = we, ‘kud’ or ‘kut’ = beat, ‘si’ = ground. It is a spelling variation of the word Bikutsi, the traditional music and dance style practiced by the Cameroonian Beti people.


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