Lawrence Abu Hamdan conceived the Aural Contract framework as an ongoing series of events, publications, exhibitions and workshops that examines the contemporary politics of listening and focuses on the role of the voice in law. In shifting from oral to aural the title mirrors the underlying proposal at the heart of the work: to shift the weight on speech in political action and fight for free rein over the very conditions of which we are being heard. Since 2010, Abu Hamdan has been building a sound archive, containing audio extracts of his works together with specific moments of juridical listening and speaking gathered from a wide range of sources such as the trials of Saddam Hussein and Judas Priest, UK police evidence tapes, films such as Decoder and readings from texts including Italo Calvino’s ‘A King Listens’. Each track of this archive is designed to tell its own story about the relationship of listening to politics, borders, human rights, testimony, truth and international law.
During his performative talk, Abu Hamdan traces the development of his archive and its manifestations in various exhibition contexts, while sounding select excerpts and explaining their background and connections with one another.
In 2012 London based artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan has had two solo shows featuring new commissioned work The Freedom Of Speech Itself at The Showroom, London and The Whole Truth at CASCO, Utrecht. His ongoing project Aural Contract has been recently exhibited at Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2012) and The Taipei Biennial (2012). Abu Hamdan is a PhD candidate and tutor at the department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths College.