This July MOCA London (Museum of Contemporary Art London) presents Dumb Listening’s, the frst
international solo exhibition from Irish artist Richard Carr.
For Dumb Listening’s Carr presents a new sonic installation developed specifcally for the Museum of Contemporary
Art, London. Comprising of three ‘sonic objects’, Dumb Listening’s transforms MOCA London into a space for the
ear, encouraging people to shift and listen through the deeply layered and visceral placements of sound. Utilising
three Audio-Spotlight systems plus a combination of oral,environmental and everyday sounds,this exhibition
furthers Carr’s ongoing enquiries into the relationship(s) of sound-making and listening.
Tracing the story of Melkorka, Carr spent time in Iceland; listening, participating and immersing himself in the
Icelandic sonic landscape. According to the Saga of the Laxdalers, Melkorka is an ancient, Irish princess who was
kidnapped by the Vikings and brought as a slave to Iceland. Pretending she is dumb, Melkorka took a personal
vow of silence in the attempt to shroud her royal, Irish upbringing. In her silence however, she embraced many
roles such as concubine, friend, lover - slave, captive, mother.
Dumb Listening’s evolves out of a core relationship with listening as an intuitively critical practice and sound as
a physical, spatial and tangible material. When exhibited, it straddles a range of intersecting formal, spatial, sonic
and art historical interests, which continually test the curatorial dimensions of working with sound within an
exhibition context. Capturing sounds of interior and exterior spaces, Carr creates a sonic rhythmic landscape.
The visitors shift between these spaces as they move around the gallery.They embrace multiple roles, that of the
listener, the observer and the participant.
As an artist, Carr openly embraces the multiple, supplementary roles that he has found himself in or overheard
through his day to day activities living in the South East of Ireland and traces of these can be heard in his
work; from the curatorial, administrative and general arts-space dogsbody, to parochial/family politics, voluntary
positions and shrouded small-town trickeries.These can be witnessed, more obviously however within the titles
of his ‘sonic objects’ – Next! What’s your name? Say Money!, Small-town trickeries and Partner is probably too
strong a word. Taking this on board, this exhibition brings a personal, almost poetic sonic response to his Icelandic
listening’s, where we hear playful engagements with the gritty, mucky and noisy substances of sonic materiality.
Dumb Listening’s features as part of Culture Ireland’s national GB18 programme: A special focus of
high quality, Irish artistic activity in Britain during 2018 and further supported through the ArtLinks
Professional Development Bursary Award.