Semay Wu is in residence in Nicolas Party’s Speakers from Tuesday 13 to Sunday 18 February 2018. She will create a piece responding to the sculptures of female heads that occupy the space. Below Semay explains what she will achieve over the course of her residency and how visitors can get involved.
How do we hold space for women who we have never heard of? Is it possible to perceive their influence? Recognising their absence allows us to begin to feel their presence in the air that we breathe, by blowing away the layer of anonymity, thickened over time. I wonder if we could ever truly humanise them, and weave them into ourselves.
Throughout the residency at Modern Art Oxford, I will be composing a piece of music that will be heard continuously every day of its 6-day existence. If you visit every day, you will get to hear a daily development of its process in all its vulnerable states. There is no real finish, just daily states of cumulative moments.
Your presence here is therefore requested, to influence and shape the piece, which will consist of a cumulation of your stories, observations, memories and fractious moments viewed by you about someone you know, who identifies as female (female-cis, trans, and gender non-conforming). This person is someone who you want to remember; someone who you feel should be recognised for their strengths and vulnerabilities, and celebrated. The focal point here is to weave into the composition intimate human connections, seen through your lens, of somebody you personally know. I wonder if, in this way, we might be able to humanise the anonymous, and grasp their importance to us, because perhaps, we know already who they are.
If you allow me, I will chat with you and ask who you feel you would want to talk about. I will ask you to either sit with me to record it, or if you want, you can write it down. Your audio recordings will then be weaved into the composition the next day, and any written notes will be performed live during the week.
At the end of the residency, the piece will finish, and none of the recordings or written notes will be used again.