The War Of The Worlds
A group of anonymous ear-witnesses recount their individual experiences of what happened on the night the voice on the radio announced the end of days. Was it a case of “fake news” or a glitch in reality that revealed an incredible truth? All that remains are oral testimonies of fear, survival, and strange beauty. Taking Orson Welles’s 1938 broadcast of The War of the Worlds as a starting point for rethinking recent history and contemporary politics, this artwork proposes to be a transmission of fugitive voices received and sheltered by the listener. Directed and designed by James Webb; Script Writer: Louis Viljoen; Recording Engineer: Dave Langemann; Voices: Emily Child, Brendon Daniels, Owen Manamela-Mogane, Dawid Minnaar, Denise Newman, and Lesoko Seabe. This artwork – originally conceived for radio – was made possible by the generous support of Linda Givon, and originally commissioned for documenta 14 radio’s “Every Time A Ear Di Soun” curated by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and co-curated by Marcus Gammel.
Autohagiography (hypnosis remix)
For a period of 2-years, the artist visited various hypnotists and hypno-therapists in order to experience hypnosis, and to make audio recordings of these sessions. The resulting artwork, broadcast from speakers sewn into the headrest of a black leather chaise longue, is a phantasmagoria of broken narratives that are both spooky and humorous, creating a sonic self-portrait of the artist and a rich tapestry of uncanny images. For Helicotrema, the artist revisits this piece as a quadraphonic performance, using the voice takes and room sounds, and transforming them to attempt to activate lucid dreaming and stimulate visionary projection. Prayer Stereo, various durations, 2000 ongoing James Webb will present selected extracts from his ongoing Prayer installation. Prayer is a multi-channel sound installation comprising recordings of prayer and vocal worship from religions in the city where the work is exhibited, broadcast simultaneously from 12 floor-based speakers. The project was started in Cape Town in 2000, and is created in situ every time. Collaborating faiths include, but are not limited to, most denominations of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, as well as new religious movements and traditional, pre-Christian faiths. Prayer has been exhibited in 9 international cities, including Johannesburg, Birmingham, and Stockholm.