Called to Respond

Shenece Oretha

To access Oretha's work, please click here.
The  call  - 
to all holding breath 
hear  feeling  beneath  fingers
as  breath  becomes  beat
catching   in  the  open  ear
conspiring  through  bones 
moving us   to respond   together...
Cell Project Space presents a new commission by London-based multidisciplinary artist Shenece Oretha, the second in a series of projects as part of Cellular, an experimental Live Art and Media-based programme. Oretha produces multi-channel sound installations that dovetail between performance, text and sculpture to shape moments of communion that transcend physical form. 
Produced during a two-month period of isolated residency at the gallery, Oretha presents the first iteration of her two-part project: an interactive holding and breathing space on the homepage of Cell’s website. Incorporating words, sound and moving image, this online participatory performance is underpinned by the liminality of our current reality. In the context of a moment of shift, one that is suspended between acts of distance and proximity, the artist calls us to touch and to test the sonic potential of technological frequency against the embodied effects of percussive sound.
By way of navigating and hovering over the responsive surface, the visitor activates breath. A subwoofer inhales and exhales, expanding and contracting, provoking a rattling of bones. Words appear and dissolve as they perform an improvisational chorus; inciting breath through rumble and sighs that emanate as signals of the artist’s summoning to listen in a more affective register. Transforming these surfaces into percussive instruments, Oretha’s new work builds on the mobilising effects of Black oral traditions, which celebrate the exchange and participation of intimate actions to generate expressions of collective imagination.
Saturday 8th, 15th, 22nd August
By appointment only
Shenece Oretha expands her online work, Called To Respond, to one-on-one listening sessions at Cell Project Space. This is the second iteration of Oretha’s Cellular commission, which the artist has produced in residency at the gallery over the past three months.
Marking the slow re-opening of Cell Project Space to the public, Oretha has created a space for communion with the visitor. Developed as a continuation of her online commission on the homepage of Cell’s website, the artist extends an invitation to experience the work in its original site of production, orchestrating speakers as instruments that perform with individual sonic potential.  Bathed in an intense amber glow, Oretha has transformed the ground floor event space at the gallery from studio to stage. Audiences can make an appointment to visit the space for a 12-minute listening session guided by the artist’s voice, featuring breathing, expanded poetry and the experience of embodied percussive sound. Each appointment adheres to government guidelines in regards to social distancing; Hand sanitiser is provided with staff at Cell Project Space wearing face masks and visitors strongly encouraged to do so.
Shenece Oretha’s first solo exhibition, TESTING GROUND, curated by Taylor Le Melle, was presented at Not/Nowhere and Cafe Oto, London (2019). Group exhibitions include 'Cinders, Sinuous and Supple', curated by Deborah Joyce Holman, Lausanne Les Urbaines, Switzerland (2019); 'PRAISE N PAY IT/ PULL UP, COME INTO THE RISE', South London Gallery, London; and 'BBZBLKBK: Alternative Grad Show', Copeland (both 2018). Presentations of performance work include 'Towards a black testimony', Stroom Den Haag curated by Languid Hands (2019); Wysing Polyphonic Festival, Wysing Art Centre, Cambridge (2018);'Congregation' and 'NON EXCHANGE: General Assembly' ICA, London, (2017).
Launched in June 2020, Cellular is a new experimental Live Art and Media-based programme comprising a multi-purpose ground floor event space at Cell Project Space and an online platform on Cell’s website. Originally conceived to run alongside the exhibitions programme at the gallery, Cellular launches six pilot commissions of on-site and digital works to be delivered with and without physical audiences between June - December 2020. To find out more, please click here.
Shenece Oretha’s interactive platform on Cell Project Space’s website has been produced with the support of art and media cooperative Black Shuck. Cellular is made possible with the generous support of an Emergency Grant by Arts Council England.