press release

Let The Song Hold Us
March 24–June 19, 2022

FACT premieres Let the Song Hold Us, an exhibition of new immersive artworks that explore how music and song bring together the family and collective histories we inherit.

The exhibition presents work by internationally renowned artist Korakrit Arunanondchai (US/Thailand) and new commissions by UK-based Zinzi Minott, Tessa Norton, Larissa Sansour with Søren Lind, Ebun Sodipo, and Rae-Yen Song. The artists experiment with storytelling to consider how we might redefine our own identities, shaped by the memories of those we have lost. Centred around song and music as a way to communicate ideas of family, mythology, hope, and belonging, the artworks reimagine the ways we create and share; what we inherit, and what we pass on. They represent both the daily rituals of our lives and the moments when we yearn for a deeper understanding of who we are.

Works in the exhibition include Songs for living (2021) by Korakrit Arunanondchai and Alex Gvojic, a new large-scale video installation that responds to a desire to heal the mind and body, and reconnect to life. Made by Arunanondchai following the death of his grandfather, this cinematic collage of visual languages and musical styles weaves together stories of grief, transformation and spiritual power. Filmed mid-pandemic, mostly in a relatively abandoned New York, Arunanondchai’s abstract, ever-shifting montage explores possible ways to rebuild.

Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind present a new triptych video installation of an Arabic-language opera that brings together Palestinian and European classical music traditions. Commissioned by FACT, As if no Misfortune had Occured in the Night (2022) considers the genetic inheritance of political trauma through multiple generations of families. Performed as a single aria, the film depicts a mother as she addresses her unborn child, revealing her fears that her past traumas have already shaped the child’s future.

Ebun Sodipo exhibits a new interactive artwork created in collaboration with young LGBTQ+ people from Liverpool and across the UK. Taking the form of a series of constellations, Following the Gourd (2022) is named after an African-American folk song that helped people to journey from the enslaved southern states of America to the “free” north. Visitors to the gallery journey through the stars to discover digital artefacts, contributed by Sodipo and her collaborators, forming a collective archive of trans experience.

The exhibition presents a new installation of objects and drawings, animated using sound and augmented reality, by Glasgow-based artist Rae-Yen Song. Song creates a distinctive and singular visual language by reclaiming and reimagining ancestral mythologies, family rituals and inherited memories. Artist and dancer Zinzi Minott premieres the next iteration of her annual series, Fi Dem, which explores the histories of the Windrush Generation and experiences of Blackness, migration and living in the diaspora. In this new work, Minott specifically looks at Liverpool’s Windrush stories, focusing on the Caribbean community. The exhibition also debuts a new commission by artist Tessa Norton who was awarded the Jerwood Arts x FACT Fellowship in 2020. Developed during her artist residency at FACT, Norton presents Dark Circles (2022), a new multimedia installation exploring the ambiguity of Anglo-Indian identity, which was a product of Empire, yet marginalised within it. Norton traces its contrasts and contradictions through the glamorous performances and fluid, ambiguous ethnicity of three Anglo-Indian actresses spanning the 'Golden Age' of musical cinema to classic Hollywood.

A programme of events accompanies the exhibition, including a series of live performances.

Let the Song Hold Us is part of Radical Ancestry, FACT’s current programme which looks at how our sense of belonging is shaped by the histories, geographies, biology and culture we inherit. Through a series of exhibitions, projects, artist residencies and events, the programme aims to question how technology can help us to explore a new way of thinking and experimenting with who we are.