Haroon Mirza's piece wins him the Promising Young Artist award at this year's Biennale in Venice.
Haroon Mirza's piece is one of the original works that are based on the theme of ILLUMInations, the title of this year's event in Venice. His installation proved so successful that he won the Silver Lion award for Promising Young Artist, an award that creates many opportunities for those who win it. The winning effort 'The National Apavilion of Then and Now' is a custom made anechoic chamber, a room designed to stop the reflections either sound or electromagnetic waves and to protect and insulate from exterior noise. A.K.A - a sound proof room.
He is known for collecting old electronics from junk shops and mashing them together to create installations that embrace as many electronically reliant forms as possible, sound, light, video etc. His installation for the Biennale, however, used new materials, creating a slick, polished work that some fans have commented on but many have still seen the pleasure within the work. 'The National Apavilion of Then and Now' uses a constant analogue drone that increases in volume and is reflected by the growing intensity of a ring of light. These two elements are different forms of electricity, audible and physical (visually speaking), that we react to on a daily basis, using them as signals, forms of communication and even using them to establish that we are alive. Mirza's piece builds in intensity within the anechoic chamber and then plunges the audience into silence and darkness, removing two vital senses but then also restricting the participants from external noise due to the nature of the room. It works both as an art installation and also an experiment of deprivation for the human. I feel that it can be interpreted as an nod towards the connective lives that we lead and how we would react if the internet and personal technologies were no more. Would we be plunged in to darkness?
Text by Ben Taylor