Haroon Mirza @ Lisson Gallery

HM3The last time i saw work from Haroon Mirza was in Venice 2011. In the group show was his installation “sick”. A low value Euro coin bouncing inside the cone of a speaker, playing an analogue tone. It was supposed to be a gold nugget. But someone nicked the nugget. He probably didn’t care. He won silver at the festival for young artist.

HM1I like contemporary art (surprisingly) and i really like music technology, which is pretty much where Haroon is at with his work. So he’ll always get a thumbs up from me. But with these new bits at the Lisson gallery, he was pushing the sensory aspect further. One work even used smell as a sense.

Of the four the pieces i saw at the Lisson, I felt only one excelled, but that one was great. It was called “Adam, Eve and a UFO”. An installation of 9 speakers facing towards the centre of a room in a circle. Situated in a space made to look spectacularly futuristic with angular sound proofing. Each speaker was connected to the centre of the room by a wire.

HM5The speakers seemed to be controlled by a rudimentary circuit board which acted as a brain. This brain controlled the sound emitting from each speaker. Pure tones – square waves and sine waves (think early Casio keyboards) were played in a pre programmed sequence. It was an immersive surround sound experience giving the impression this central “brain” was the soul behind the speakers. The sequenced sounds became more complex and evolved over the course of 5 minutes before ending abruptly, leaving the room deadly silent.

HM4My description is basic, but the experience was incredibly moving. The visual, audio and conceptual elements combined to make an experience that felt alive and organic. It was like being in a scene from Prometheus. I had this feeling of elation and also menace. Something was controlling the sound, perhaps hypnotising me, before assimilating me. It was one part high art “smug” and one part  spine tingling rave “rush”

Dare i say, it was absolutely epic.