A sonic mapping of London
Lawrence Abu Hamdan
February 2008 - May 2009
Marches by Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an audio recording, booklet and map documenting two performances on 23 May 2008.
Following an extensive period of research with individuals ranging from protest marchers and London walks guides to forgotten library archives in Stepney Green, Abu Hamdan choreographed two marches in the Queen’s Walk and Tower Hill areas of the city, locations distinct for their lively history and mottled aural atmosphere. Procession routes and pathways were woven together to create new navigations along which a small troop of marchers stomped wearing footwear adapted for greater sonic effect. Cobblers from Anthony Andrews Special Footwear and Orthotics in West London worked in partnership with Abu Hamdan to create customised footwear; loafers elevated on wooden platforms bearing hobnails, taps and quarter iron tips with leather insoles to induce squeaking. The sonic impulses created by these unique shoes acoustically defined the architectural space through which the marchers travelled.
These excursions into the city disturbed conventional perceptions of the built environment using the ephemeral nature of sound and revealed new ways to imagine our architectural surroundings.
Introducing the booklet, Abu Hamdan said of the project: "This compilation of performance, cartographic illustration, sound recordings, writings, shoe making and research are all processes to enable an alternative reading of the city, one which has lost concern for function and is left only with transit. Marches illustrates a city that is waiting between two points, a city that existed briefly and for no purpose."