A solo exhibition of new work commissioned for Soundfjord (London) in 2013. The exhibition comprised a film and sound work, Sbarbi's Arrow, and a narrowcast of text, images and sound recordings wired to the gallery remotely from Seville.
The film, which presents a hallucinatory ethnographic portrait of the catholic procession of Jesús Despojado on Palm Sunday of 2011, has been subsequently reworked in 2015. The work sits in a discursive territory between sound and video art, documentary field recording, and contemporary ethnographic film-making. It is suitable for installation, gallery screening and cinema.
"Sbarbi's Arrow (2013) is the first major creative output of Duncan Whitley's study of the saeta flamenca, a form of flamenco prayer, sung to the religious images of the Catholic Easter processions in Andalucia. The exhibition is commissioned by Soundfjord to coincide with the movable feast of Lent and Easter.
The title refers to an 1880 text by José María Sbarbi in which he describes the saeta as 'a brief, fervent spiritual maxim, capable of producing in the mind an impression similar to that caused in the body by the wound from an arrow... capable, not of riddling the heart of the most hardened or indifferent sinner with arrows, but of giving a dead man gooseflesh.' Whitley searches for traces of Sbarbi's metaphorical arrow within his self-reflexive investigations in contemporary ethnography, extending the metaphor from flamenco song to processes of recording, memory and playback."
The exhibition at Soundfjord consisted in the audiovisual work Sbarbi's Arrow, and a narrowcast of text, images and sound recordings sent to the gallery from Seville during Lent and Easter. The audiovisual element was adapted and installed specifically for the gallery, with the final sound mix produced on-site.
The exhibition was complemented with a series of on and off-site events at Soundfjord, Goldsmiths University and Cafe OTO, hosting a number of respected researchers and practitioners including: Doc Rowe, Angus Carlyle, Rosalind Fowler, Noel Lobley, Jez riley French, Ian Rawes and John Wynne.
Read exhibition review on Fluid Radio here: http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2013/03/duncan-whitley-sbarbis-arrow/ (by Pascal Savy)
Exhibition produced as a commission at Soundfjord.
Supported by the Arts Council England and the British Library.
With additional support from Measure, Unit for Sound Practice Research at Goldsmiths University of London.
Media partner Sound And Music.
Original sound recordings, edit & video animation: Duncan Whitley
Camera: Simon Day
Music: José Antonio Rodríguez Sabín (saeta) and Agrupación Musical Virgen de los Reyes (Seville).
Single-screen video, multi-channel sound. Stereo version available on request.
Duration: 22 minutes 57 seconds
Codec: Apple Pro Res 422 or H264
Audio: PCM uncompressed 5 channels