Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Siemon Allen

Siemon Allen is a South African artist who currently lives and works in the United States.

Allen’s most recent collection project, Records, is rooted in an extensive archive of South African audio consisting of over 2500 items including 650 rare shellac discs. The project has generated a series of varied works sourced from this ongoing audio collection including a number of site responsive installation works, a series of large-scale digital prints, and a searchable web-based database that can be viewed at

'Practically, these prints are detailed scanned enlargements of individual records. I chose items that were particularly damaged, scratched or stressed; perhaps the opposite of what a record collector might prefer to collect. The damage on the record was a further marking by unknown authors who had unwittingly contributed their history to the object. The image in the print captures not only the historical audio visually in the form of the lines or grooves, but also the scratches, damage, and repair work done by subsequent owners, which is clearly visible.
For me, the damage shown in the prints sets up a visual irony. On one hand, in art historical terms, it represents a kind of decay or even degradation. On the other hand, the damage is, in most cases, the direct result of use and reuse. It could be viewed as the by-product of the most amazing fun. This irony is heightened when one considers the context of the object’s use—the apartheid era.'

below other installations by Allen

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