Glasgow International Festival of Contemporary Art

Live Audio Essays: A Thousand White Plastic Chairs

A duotone image featuring yellow lines overlapping on a dark green/brown background, with dots spaced out in a wide grid pattern. At the top of the image in yellow font it says “Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Live Audio Essays” and below it says “A Thousand White Plastic Chairs, 09.06.24, 7pm, Audio”
Dates and Opening times

Sun 9 June, 7pm
Doors 6pm. Performance starts at 7pm.
Performance runtime: 25 minutes (approx.)



14 Midland Street
G1 4PP

Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Presented by

The Common Guild 

Supported by

The Common Guild is supported by Creative Scotland.


For additional access information, click here


Audio investigator Lawrence Abu Hamdan weaves together urgent political narratives that pivot around acoustic experience and sonic memory. Live Audio Essays presents three key performance works by Abu Hamdan, where sound and politics intersect. The performances present narratives and testimonies that detail violence, oppression and aggression, offering strategies for political critique and action.

A Thousand White Plastic Chairs (2020) is performed by Abu Hamdan with electric guitar accompaniments by Fabio Cervi. The scenography for this work – flashing red and yellow lights – is inspired by the system of simultaneous translation deployed during the Nuremberg trials in the aftermath of World War II in 1945–6. This newly developed electronic audio technology enabled simultaneous translation of the trial proceedings from their spoken languages into Russian, French, German, and English.

During the performance Abu Hamdan is illuminated by these lights alone, which command and direct the artist’s speech. The performance departs from this apparatus to examine the inextricable relation between testimony and the technologies by which it is disseminated and distorted. Here, Abu Hamdan re-performs the asymmetry between the speed of the technology – which allowed words to travel through copper cables at 4,600 metres per second – and the speed of the human mind to process what it sees and stores of a given event. ‘A Thousand White Plastic Chairs’ serves as a proposition that the true capacity to bear witness is measured not through acts of coherent testimony and seamless speech but rather through its interruptions and breaking points.

A Thousand White Plastic Chairs has never previously been performed in the UK.

Additional performances by Abu Hamdan include Air Pressure on Thursday 6 June at Galvanizers, SWG3, 100 Eastvale Place, G3 8QJ; and After SFX on Sunday 23 June at Barrowlands, 244 Gallowgate, G4 0TT.

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