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Updata: 26th March 2021

Interview about
On Hannah Arendt:

Eight Proposals
Richard Saltoun Gallery,
Laima Leyton

In the currently running exhibition at Richard Saltoun Gallery, On Hannah Arendt: Eight Proposals for Exhibition which was introduced in our previous article, the sound artist and music producer introduced in Issue 01 of our magazine, Laima Leyton, is also participating. For this project, using ‘time’, ‘culture’, ‘truth’, and ‘psychology’ as her themes, she is creating sound pieces according to each chapter of Arendt’s work Between Past and Future, collectively titled Infinite Past, Infinite Future, and Now. The first of these, Lack of, which was inspired by “Tradition and the Modern Age”, has already been presented, and Leyton spoke of this work: “It’s a meditative and visionary piece that came to me from the idea that science, which is based upon doubt and distrust, undermines truth. Considering the costs and benefits of the ‘lack of tradition’ and ‘lack of truth’, and that in the end, truth is something that exists within each and every single one of us— this is what I wish to show through Lack of.” Also, in succession from this, her piece, Amnesia, for the second chapter “The Concept of History” was just released on 8 March. In continuation from our interview with Richard Saltoun, I would like to present our short interview with Leyton along with these two works.

Lack of
Music, filmed & edited by Laima Leyton

Interview with
Laima Leyton

Have you ever created a sound piece based on some kind of writings like this time?
It is the first time I am inspired directly by a specific collection of writings. It is quite unique as I get the chance to respond to someone else’s work. It feels very collaborative and supported.
Does this series, which runs from Chapter 1 to Chapter 7, feel like an album to you?
Yes, I can see it as an album but a very different one as I take more time to do the work. I sit with each chapter for around a month before I go into choosing what I want to bring from the book into the sound piece.
I think it was a different approach from normal production, but what kind of approach do you specifically take in this series of work production?
When inspired by Hannah Arendt’s writings, I am also inspired by what was happening in the world when she wrote. I translate her writings to our times. It makes me look for sounds and images of times and spaces she is referring to, so they can be included in my work in a new way. That is new to me. Most of my previous works were inspired by personal experiences; this is about encountering someone else’s thoughts with my personal experiences.
Please tell us the theme and concept of the sound peace for Chapter 2, The Concept of History.
On The Concept of History, Arendt writes about modern history as being a process defined by humankind, where Men can manipulate nature and the course of History. I wrote Amnesia, reflecting upon the men who represent history and the forgotten ones.

Music, filmed & edited by Laima Leyton

Richard Saltoun Gallery has its own attitude, such as actively addressing social issues, but what do you most sympathise with them?
I like the engagement for sure. An art gallery that praises social engagement is urgently necessary as arts are mostly a response to society’s happenings. I sympathise the most with their openness, experimentation and trying new things, resulting in a body of solid work with established and upcoming artists.

The surprising thing is these works were not just music, and that Leyton herself undertook the videography and editing for the visuals that accompanied the pieces. She revealed to me in an email after our interview had completed that these were created in her living room at home. Continuing from Lack of and Amnesia, there will be six more pieces that will be released in succession with the exhibitions scheduled for this year. I look forward to her new interpretations through visuals and music that have deep sensitivity in addition to her wisdom and technique.

Richard Saltoun Gallery
41 Dover Street
London W1S 4NS
United Kingdo

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