Liverpool Artwork of the Week No. 10. ‘7 AM’ (still from video) by Imogen Stidworthy – Winner of the Liverpool Art Prize 2008. Exhibiting at Contemporary Urban Centre until May 7 2008
7AM is one of two works by Imogen in the Liverpool Art Prize – the other is ‘Get Here’. Both surround sound installations.
Every morning a flood of people passes through the gates of Tian Tan Park, Beijing. 7AM focuses on their morning exercises and the social and sonic space they generate. Isolated figures and small groups scattered amongst the trees fill the park with the sounds of slapping, sweeping limbs and sweeping twig brooms, feet brushing grass into circles and geometric figures, the smack of a sand-filled bag against a back or a back against a tree trunk, snatches of music passing by on portable radios.
Each exercise is sustained for at least five minutes and up to two hours. Time and distance are measured out by hundreds of simultaneous, individual rhythms, which evolve into a highly spatial and visually complex, percussive language. 7AM approaches this acoustic space as a social landscape, between sight and sound.
Says Stidworthy: “There is a very strong relation between the body, the space, the sound and the frame, and time being beaten or marked out by the rhythms of movement and sound. The acoustic experience is very spatial as sounds arise at every distance, at every interval, from all around – this lends itself extremely well to the spatial-acoustic possibilities of surround-sound in the cinema context.”