What if extinct voices were brought back to life? How can we make silenced and invisible knowledge visible?
The exhibition will present Marguerite Humeau’s new sound piece Weeds, realised in collaboration with the musician Lafawndah in 2021. WEEDS is a tribute to past and present women who have had an impact in the development of medicine, but whose knowledge and names have been put aside from the official narrative. The sacredness of the church and the use of sound as an activator of ghosts from the past plunges the audience into a meditative state.
Throughout history women have been midwives, pharmacists, doctors, botanists, and healers. They contributed to the development and research of medicine and they had an important role in their community. Nevertheless, many have been cast out of the official narrative of medical history. Their practices have often been associated with witchcraft and they were victims of the Witch Hunts, which raged in Europe between the 14th and the 19th century. A considerable body of knowledge surrounding plants and their healing effects has been lost.
Led by the repeated sound of a gong, a voice – musician Lafawndah – lists names of women and fragments of their history. Through the simple but caring act of naming them, Marguerite Humeau brings them back to the very centre, giving them a voice, a power, and a presence. Weeds is the result of an important work of investigation and research by the artist, typical of her creative process.
The acoustic quality of the Swiss Church and its multi-layered infrastructure offers the possibility of a wide range of musical movements. With a surround sound system, Weeds will amplify the architecture of the church as a place to remember the living and connect with the deceased. The visitors will be invited to walk around and take the time to listen.
The accompanying public programme will consist of a dedicated evening with a series of talks on how to make past and present silenced knowledge visible, with a focus on plant knowledge, oral tradition and the power of sound.
PRACTICAL INFORMATION Weeds (2021, 34’35’’, looped) A work by Marguerite Humeau Voice and Sound Composition: Lafawndah Mixing: Nick Weiss Sound engineer: Grady Steele Graphism: Alice Villers Curated by Léonore Larrera and Marie de Ganay Opening day: Monday 21 June from 5pm to 10pm Dates: 21.05.21 – 26.06.21 from 11am to 6pm An evening of talks: “How to make the invisible, visible” The Swiss Church – 79 Endell St, WC2H 9DY, London
This project has been made in partnership with Goldsmiths University, the Swiss Church. Art reproduced by d&b audiotechnik.