The Best of Sammy Clark (installation, 2008) is a tribute to Raed Yassin's fictive mentor, the eponymous Lebanese pop culture icon, and a contrived genealogy, which links the artist to the 1980s singer. The installation features 4 turntables simultaneously playing a different Sammy Clark LP, placed at the centre of a vivid pink and green room. A group of frames contain a series of digitally manipulated photographs, in which Sammy Clark appears to entertain the Yassin family, during a birthday party. A text indicates that these objects are the only remains after an explosion that destroyed the Yassin family apartment during the Lebanese civil war.
The Best of Sammy Clark points at a representational rift between the lived experience and the normativity of its conventional forms of documentation (be it the family photograph or the news report), which Yassin addresses by inserting imagined memories to complete the 'real' story. The resulting narrative is openly personal, subjective, and navigates the thin line between historical truth and fiction. The Best of Sammy Clark contemplates the erosion of memory and of narrative possibilities and explores the limitations of the artist's memory apparatus through the lens of consumer culture and popular music.
The exhibition will be complemented by a series of events, performances and screening which further explore the intersection between popular music, radio and writing, curated by Rayya Badran. Entitled Sonic Grounds, this programme is organized to coincide with both Raed Yassin's exhibition The Best of Sammy Clark and the New Writing residency (in collaboration with Bidoun magazine) currently taking place at the Delfina Foundation.
Sonic Grounds aims to unpack some of the underlying topics and thoughts that emanate from Yassin's contextual work on music and video by expanding the discussion to a number of UK-based practitioners, with view to yield different interpretations and readings to sampling, popular culture and the politics of aurality. The series of talks will also attempt to extrapolate experiences of listening between the cities of London and Beirut to seek potential moments of dissonance or resonance.
Video screening followed by a conversation between Raed Yassin and Rayya Badran:
Wednesday 12 January, 18:00 ' 20:00
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