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21 — 25 April 2021 | Leuven. Belgium
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    The National Apavilion of Then and Now | Haroon Mirza
    The National Apavilion of Then and Now
    April 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25

    Haroon Mirza, manipulator of the human perception through installations with sound, light and electric current.

    The National Apavilion of Then and Now is an architectural structure by British media artist Haroon Mirza. Lined with grey sound-insulating pyramidal foam, the Apavilion works as an anechoic chamber in which neither light nor sound is reflected. The entire absence of impulses and context grounds us in the here and now. At its centre, suspended from the ceiling is a circle of white LED lights, a halo-like symbol of heavenliness, of spiritual perfection. After a period of total darkness, the LEDs get increasingly bright, accompanied by a crescendo of an electronic buzzing sound then to abruptly stop, plunging the room back into darkness until the cycle starts again.

    Haroon Mirza has won international acclaim for installations that test the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. He devises lively sculptures, performances and immersive installations. Haroon is an advocate of interference in the sense of electro-acoustic or radio disruption and creates situations that purposefully cross wires. 

    Haroon Mirza © Haroon Mirza, Courtesy Lisson Gallery Haroon Mirza © Haroon Mirza, Courtesy Lisson Gallery

    He describes his role as a composer, manipulating electricity, a live, invisible and volatile phenomenon, to make it dance to a different tune and calling on instruments as varied as household electronics, vinyl and turntables, LEDs, furniture, video footage and existing artworks to behave differently. Processes are left exposed and sounds occupy space in an unruly way, testing codes of conduct and charging the atmosphere.

    Haroon asks us to reconsider the perceptual distinctions between noise, sound and music, and draws into question the categorisation of cultural forms. "All music is organised sound or organised noise", he says. "So as long as you’re organising acoustic material, it’s just the perception and the context that defines it as music or noise or sound or just a nuisance".