‘never to take the tedious task of waiting for a bus for granted.’
Benjamin Zephaniah, What Stephen Lawrence Has Taught Us
[re]locate is a sound installation by London-based artist Tahera Aziz, responding to the tragic events surrounding the racially motivated murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence near a bus stop in southeast London in 1993.
Taking the notion of the daily routine of waiting at the bus stop as its starting point, the artwork explores the disruption of the everyday to foreground the murder once again, highlighting detailed elements that have particular resonance. The work examines the processes involved with struggling to preserve the memory of the case, which has had a deep impact in public life, whilst offering new insights.
Utilising transcripts from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report to build up a picture of what happened, Aziz worked with a group of actors to develop the dialogue, a field-recording artist and sound engineer to experiment with simultaneous multi-channel recording and audio compositional techniques, and a computer programmer to introduce elements of responsiveness into sonic environment.
Motivated by a desire to explore the potential of sound and documentary practices to re-examine events associated with the Lawrence case, Aziz has developed this thought-provoking and poignant installation in which the audience is encouraged to generate their own mental images of events. This unique approach offers a mechanism for deepening audience engagement with the complex and multi-layered narratives associated with the murder. Over twenty years on, [re]locate compels the audience to reconsider evolving definitions of contemporary urban experience.
A prototype for the artwork was developed with support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (research and development) and the Arts Council of England, in partnership with London South Bank University and PVA MediaLab. The prototype was further developed during an artist residency as part of Curating Knowledge, which was hosted by Alsager Arts Centre (now Axis Arts Centre).
Production, exhibition and the national tour of [re]locate has been funded by the Arts Council of England. The installation was previewed at 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, and has since been exhibited at Axis Arts Centre (formerly Alsager Arts Centre), East Street Arts’ Union 105 (Leeds), New Art Exchange (Nottingham), Bermondsey Project (London), and in the Santorini Biennale of Arts. The installation is due to be exhibited at the Otter Gallery, University of Chichester from 9 October to 6 December.
For link to documentation of exhibition at Bermondsey Project on Facebook please click here.