What if extinct voices were brought back to life? What if silenced and invisible knowledge is made visible again? Thus asks Marguerite Humeau in her new sound piece Weeds, realized in collaboration with the musician Lafawndah in 2021, and held 21-26 June 2021 at The Swiss Church, London.
WEEDS is described as “a tribute to past and present women who have had an impact in the development of medicine, but whose knowledge and names have been put aside from the official narrative”.
The work recognizes the history of women as midwives, pharmacists, doctors, botanists, and healers, and their contribution to the development and research of medicine and their important role in the community. However, as in music or art or any other field of life, women of the past have been cast out of the official narrative of the medical history. Consequently, info on their practices and a considerable body of knowledge surrounding plants and their healing effects has been lost.
In order to raise awareness of this history, Humeau’s piece makes use of the sacredness of the church and sound “to throw the audience into a meditative state”. Accompanied by the repeated sound of a gong, a voice – musician Lafawndah – lists names of women and fragments of their history. So its by simply naming forgotten women caringly that Marguerite Humeau brings them back to the very centre, “giving them a voice, a power, and a presence”. The Weeds has required an important work of investigation and research by the artist, as have done many other of her previous works focusing on the communication between the worlds.
The acoustic quality of the Swiss Church and its multi-layered infrastructure is said to offer the possibility of a wide range of musical movements. Humeau has chosen a surround sound system to amplify the architecture of the church “as a place to remember the living and connect with the deceased”. The visitors will be invited to walk around and take the time to listen.
There will also be a dedicated evening with a series of talks on how to make past and present silenced knowledge visible, with a focus on plant knowledge, oral tradition and the power of sound (An evening of talks: “How to make the invisible, visible” The Swiss Church – 79 Endell St, WC2H 9DY, London).
Solo exhibition of Marguerite Humeau
21-26 June 2021
The Swiss Church, London
Weeds (2021, 34’35’’, looped)
A work by Marguerite Humeau
Voice and Sound Composition: Lafawndah
Mixing: Nick Weiss
Sound engineer: Grady Steele
Graphism: Alice Villers
Curated by Léonore Larrera and Marie de Ganay
Opening day: Monday 21 June from 5pm to 10pm
Dates: 21.05.21 – 26.06.21 from 11am to 6pm
Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986) is a French artist based in London. Her practice
resurrects ecosystems built by living beings – human or non-human – often forgotten or made invisible. After graduating from Royal College of Art in 2011, Marguerite Humeau has had numerous solo shows in renowned institutions, such as the New Museum, New York; the Tate Britain, Nottingham Contemporary, London; the Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich; the Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris. Her work also has been included in many group exhibitions including at High Line, New York; Château de Versaille; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Serpentine Gallery, London & the Istanbul Biennial.
This project has been made in partnership with Goldsmiths University, the Swiss
Church. Art reproduced by d&b audiotechnik.