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Sonic Signals

1 July 2022 to 15 July 2023

What could it mean to send your voice out into space? To communicate beyond your own sphere of experience?

Sonic Signals is a proposal for a new form of open ended infrastructure; conflating and connecting primary schools, after-school radio clubs, and an artist-led multiverse.

Responding to the particularities of working with Eastside Projects and Chandos Primary School as an Incidental Artist, Abbas Zahedi developed a site-sensitive concept that proposed a new kind of relationship between the two organisations, opening a portal between them through which a potentially infinite loop of audio can be transmitted. Messages made by children moved from the school into the gallery, where they will be played openly for everyone to hear.

What the children chose to send was completely up to them.

Looping, dynamic, intuitive and non-linear, this collaged structure emerged over time in dialogue with a group of twelve, nine and ten year olds who met weekly as an after-school Radio Club. From January – July 2023 Radio Club got used to the sound of their own voices, learnt to record sound, used mixing software and built sound loops. Visiting creatives showed them how to use audio description to create vivid pictures in peoples’ minds, how to interview people and record sound in their environment, and how to collectively design a visual identity using handmade stamps and collage. They also developed their own ideas, making recordings to send through to Eastside Projects.

In May – June 2023 artists Exodus Crooks, melissandre varin, Sarah Farmer, Samiir Saunders, Indira Lakshmi and Ayan Aden ran Sonic Signals workshops in school, using their own practices and a series of open prompts developed by Abbas as starting points for sessions which generated new recordings. Every child in years 1–6 had the opportunity to participate.

 

The broadcast went live in the gallery on Digbeth First Friday 2 June in a listening space which was co-designed with radio Club. It evolved across the next six weeks as new recordings were added.

The final Chandos Primary School loop included Sonic Signals from:

Radio Club: Ahmed, Azrah, David, Dhwani, Imaad, Mayah, Mossie, Tolu, Saara, Safa and Salamatu.

and

Daniel, Soheil, Norah, Mahi, Denys, Nadim, Narjes, Muhammed, Mohammed, Ibrahaim, Sarmad, Fatimah, Muhammed, Amaiyah, Ravya Aarav, Khemi, Diris, Ella, Hafsa, Aseel, Anshi, Rehab, Alicia, Shireen, Liyah, Sara, Shupriya, Mayss, Nasrudin, Ramin, Faheem, Kavontay, Arya, Tala, Joshua, Alice, Artie, Muhammad, Arhan, Mohamed, Alia, Surah, Mohammed, Rayan, Daryus, Fatima, Bonny, Mohammed, Paryan. Iman, Abdikafi, Taha, Yahya, Ramah, Christina, Yasmeenah, Liviu, Carissa, Mohammed, D’Andre, Aryana, Reece, Marwaan, Amaan, Tanari, Omais, Sana, Anya, Ahmad, Faroug, Azraah, Yousef, Mayah, Sawsan, Daeem, Sareedo, Malik, Saadollah, Yome, Baboucar, Jeevita, Warisha, Zuhair, Mehek, Adhiba, Ahmed, Hamdy, Sagnik, Krystal, Shayan. Hashem, Arham, Anaya, Amle, Hajar, Safa, Tallinn, Izyaan, Kabir, Zara, Sepehr, Ahad, Dean, Salman, Mosa, Darin, Adam, Nora, Caira-Leigh, Jordan, Treasure, Meela, Richard, Tiarnah, Salwa, Mikaeel, Arissa, Haley, Casper, Madhu. Danial, Umeir, Shehab, Sajida, Shrihaan, Gurpreet, Adna, Mariyam, Taijuan, Danyal, Ubeid, David, Sabrina, Zubaida. Rayan, Sulaman, Mustafa, Sareenah, Yahya, Hamdan, Faisal, Muhammed, Darryn, Oliver, Shaniya, Aneesah, Rym, Udeyl, Evelyn, Kloi, Ismail, Aisha, Sami, Moosa, Webany, Zineb, Avin, Zariyah, Kshitij, Richard, Ameen, Dhai, Yacqub, Malak, Solaf, Ammar, Aiden, Rayaan, Henda, Shreyangsh, Azariah, Safi, Shun, Nathan, Chimmy, Kemarni, Reya. Aanya, Xavier, Keisha, Blessing, Enda, Katia, Rylee, Hinson, Serena, Pedro, Dariush, Xavier, Sam, Dhwani, Anya, Shayan, Patrick, Shubh and friends.

To date Sonic Signals has been made possible by a range of guest contributors, artists, designers, makers and members of the Chandos School and Eastside Projects teams including:

Elaine Joseph, Sofia Niazi, Sam Coley, Peter Donnelly, Laura Grinvalde, Lenny Singh-Raud, Lezli Howarth, Yuri Nishikawa, Alex Cockell, Sarah King, Middleton Hall Upholstery, Ayan Aden, Exodus Crooks, melissandre varin, Sarah Farmer, Samiir Saunders, Indira Lakshmi, Ruth Claxton, Jaz Morrison and Dinosaur Kilby.

Next Steps

The next step is for the prompts and tools Abbas and Eastside Projects have prototyped through this phase to be imagined as an open source platform housing resources, workshop formats and an approach which other artists, children, and schools can to use to develop new Sonic Signals loops in the future. We want to create opportunities for children to be more DIY, share thoughts, ideas and feelings, sketch with sound and have the agency to connect to their local environment. If you can help get in touch.

Generously supported by Ecclestone & Hart

 

Abbas Zahedi (b. 1984, London, UK), studied medicine at University College London, before completing his MA in Contemporary Photography: Practices and Philosophies at Central Saint Martins in 2019. He blends contemporary philosophy, poetics, and social dynamics with performative and new-media modes. With an emphasis on how personal and collective histories interweave, Abbas makes connections whenever possible with people involved in the particular situations upon which he focuses. He lives and works in London.

Selected exhibitions, interventions, projects and performances include: Holding a Heart in Artifice, Nottingham Contemporary, (2023); Loading Loading, CAPC, Bordeaux, (2022-2023); Metatopia 10013, Anonymous Gallery, New York (2022); Waiting With {Sonic Support}, Frieze Artist Award, London, 2022; The London Open (2022), Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); Postwar Modern, Barbican, London (2022); Testament, Goldsmiths CCA, London (2022); Temporary Compositions, Gallery 31 Somerset House, London (2021); Ouranophobia SW3, Chelsea Sorting Office (2020); How To Make A How From A Why?, Fire Station, South London Gallery, London (2020); Diaspora Pavilion, (ICF), Palazzo Pisani a Santa Marina, Venice (2017).

Abbas has been the recipient of numerous awards including: the Frieze Artist Award (2022); the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists (2021); the Serpentine Galleries’ Support Structures for Support Structures (2021); Artangel, Thinking Time (2020); Jerwood Arts Bursary (2019); Aziz Foundation Academic Scholarship (2018); and Khadijah Saye Memorial Fund Scholarship (2017). He is an associate lecturer at the Royal College of Art (London), as well as teaching at universities across the UK and abroad.

Find out more at abbzah.com

 

Chandos is a giant primary school located in Highgate. We have many teachers, dinner ladies and teacher assistants. Chandos School is part of the Elliott Foundation Academy Trust. There are eight year groups including reception and nursery.

Chandos School is on Vaughton St in Highgate. It is one street away from my house, near the Central Mosque, near St Albans Church, in Birmingham, West Midlands, Europe, Earth. Our postcode is B12 0YN.

Not all people are the same, there are different people and friends. Chandos is international and multicultural with different races and languages. We are kind. We care about other people. It is friendly and lovely and is a good environment.

Excerpts from an introduction for artists written in April 2022 by the Chandos Champions and the Arts Ambassadors – Kassiya, Kesi, Halima, Sakina, Yahya, Mayah, Taijuan, Lucas, Anshi, Rejwan, Sareenah, Yasin, Dariush, Amina, Azraah, and Aryan.

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