Pressemitteilung vom 02.07.2020

A Slightly Curving Place

The New Alphabet | A Slightly Curving Place

Exhibition, digital discourse program, publication
July 23–September 20, 2020
2–8pm, daily except Tue
Free admission

Press Release and Invitation to Press Preview on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 11am

What does it mean to try and listen to the past? To ask this question draws awareness both to sound as a social event – music, theater, and dance as forms of lived collectivity – and to its absence which remains. Such listening is to confront a sense that the past cannot be captured. It is about that which is lost but nevertheless always with us – the simultaneity of the past in the present, a collectivity across time beyond possession and accumulation.

The exhibition A Slightly Curving Place derives its title from a Prakrit phrase in Jain cosmology: “Isipabbhar” refers to a special place above the heavens shaped like a parasol where the disembodied souls of the perfected ones go to live in eternal isolation. Sealed off from the rest of the cosmos, they are unable to interact with other souls, unable to hear them or be heard. In this exhibition, a slightly curving place is to be found not at the apex of the universe but under an ambisonic dome of speakers. Here, an audience of listeners might gather to sense a past they cannot hear. The sound that arrives is a record of sound as it was. Elsewhere, on projection screens, the body of a dancer rotates in one direction as it makes an image of time that turns in another.

A Slightly Curving Place responds to Umashankar Manthravadi, a self-taught acoustic archaeologist who has been building ambisonic microphones to map and measure the acoustic properties of premodern sites of ritual and festival. He proposes that we can’t just look for theaters in landscapes of the past, we must listen for them. Centered around a multi-authored audio play, the exhibition brings together writers, choreographers, dancers, actors, composers, musicians, field recordists and sound designers who engage and transform not just each other’s work but also that of many others.

The ambisonic dome, which comprises 21 speakers and produces a three-dimensional sound field, has been provided by the Audio Communication Group, Technische Universität Berlin.

Digital Discourse Program:
Coming to Know is a series of three digital public events responding to the exhibition A Slightly Curving Place, convened with Brooke Holmes, Professor of Classics, Princeton University.

A volume accompanying the exhibition will be published by archive books in September 2020. With contributions by Umashankar Manthravadi, Vinit Agarwal, Moushumi Bhowmik, Padmini Chettur, Nida Ghouse, Alexander Keefe, Sukanta Majumdar, Maarten Visser.

The exhibition is realized in collaboration with and with contributions by Umashankar Manthravadi, Bani Abidi, Mojisola Adebayo, Vinit Agarwal, Sukesh Arora, Anurima Banerjee, Moushumi Bhowmik, Arunima Chatterjee, Madhuri Chattopadyay, Padmini Chettur, Emese Csornai, Padma Damodaran, Hugo Esquinca, Jenifer Evans, Eunice Fong, Tyler Friedman, Janardan Ghosh, Brooke Holmes, Alexander Keefe, Sukanta Majumdar, Robert Millis, Farah Mulla, Rita Panjatan, Ayaz Pasha, TJ Rehmi, RENU, Uzma Z. Rizvi, Sara, Yashas Shetty, The Travelling Archive, Maarten Visser and others.

Curated by Nida Ghouse

Part of The New Alphabet (2019-2021), supported by the Minister of State for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.
With friendly support of Goethe-Institut e.V.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Minister of State for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

We cordially invite you to the press preview of the exhibition A Slightly Curving Place

Thursday, 22 July 2020, 11 am
Exhibition hall 2 and lobby at HKW

Due to Covid-19 regulations, accreditation is mandatory. Participation is very limited due to the current distance rules; on-site accreditation is not possible. Please register via our online form by Tuesday, July 21, 2020.

To ensure comfort and security for our visitors and employees, health and safety protocols have been established. These include a reduced visitor capacity and a no-touch viewing experience. Please wear your own mouth and nose protection on site and maintain a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from others. We recommend to bring your own headphones.

Press photos ready for download:

Further information

Press Contact:
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Anne Maier
Spokeswoman for the Press/Head of Press Contemporary Art

tel. +49 30 39787 196
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