… if the voices were only memories?

ceramic‘What would you do if…?’ was a group exhibition commissioned by Salford Museum and Art Gallery, April – November 2006.

The exhibition explored the issue of immigration in the area through direct engagement with the local refugee and asylum seeker population.


What would you do if…?

What would you do if…? 2 channel introduction 3’50

The first exhibition of its kind in the north-west, What would you do if…? was organised by Lis Murphy from the museum’s Embrace project and explored issues around immigration and the ways that ideas of community are changing. Working with local residents, school children and recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers, a number of artists were commissioned to produce work in response to these people’s experiences, raising questions and challenging perceptions of immigrant populations in the Salford Area.

The exhibition consisted of a number of exhibits including ceramic works called ’21′ by Emma Summers, film by Jo Clements and Sam Ingleson, photographic portraits by Johnny Mobasher, photographs on the theme of regeneration in Higher Broughton by Maria Murphy, textile ‘birds’ installation by Isobel Pickup and Maryam Patala, ‘Where would you sleep? sculptural installation by Roger Sim and Kate Eggleson-Wirtz and a number of works produce by artists working with local school children.

My piece …if the voices were only memories? was a 57 minute looped, 2 + 8 channel sound installation; 2 channel stereo introduction by the entrance to the space and 8 channels distributed throughout the main exhibition. The brief was to create a sound installation that would help to unify the different exhibits while making more explicit the themes of the exhibition.  I recorded interviews with a number of people from the Salford refugee and asylum seeker community (many of whom had worked with the exhibition artists), some of the local school children and some local Salford residents. Excerpts of these interviews were then mixed with various forms of transport, birdsong, familiar environments and music drawn from different cultures to highlight the themes of displacement, journeys, migration, community, cultural change, memories and loss.

… if the voices were only memories? stereo reduction from 8 channels – excerpts: