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CCA Show 2021 – Notes on Play

8 May 2021 to 14 May 2021


Click here to visit the Notes on Play website

In partnership with the British Library

For Notes on Play, multi-disciplinary artist Shenece Oretha has been commissioned to make a new work in response to the ‘Playtimes’ collection within the British Library sound archive as part of the Library's Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project, which aims to preserve and provide access to thousands of the UK's rare and unique sound recordings. Inspired by the rich variety of material documenting the imaginative, subversive and interpretative nature of play, Oretha will explore the creative capacities of active listening, the politics of play and the effects and meaning of the archival itself in a new sound work to be launched online on 8 May 2021. 

Actively listening to the collection is a means through which to critically re-examine the archive, to be attentive to who or what is missing. Identifying the underrepresented voices in the digitized collection and a lack of cultural diversity, the project asks ‘Can we turn our attention not only towards what we can hear, but also towards what we cannot?

Oretha’s work allows listeners to participate in this re-examination, by placing the relationship between play, improvisation and possibility at the forefront. The sound work will set the conditions for the archived sounds of play to be ‘opened back up to possibilities; different outcomes, directions, gestures, routes for those who encounter the work’ - Shenece Oretha. 

Through the act of listening, our personal memories of childhood playtime can be conjured, and – beyond mere nostalgia – it creates a sense of liveliness and palpability to our own, unique archive of imagination. Similar to the collective act of playing, Oretha’s work will celebrate the possibility of community and collaboration that active listening can initiate.

Artist: Shenece Oretha

MA Curators: Mahamed Abdullahi, Maria Abramenko, Liza-Rose Burton, Rodrigo Chaveiro, Matilde Silva Fry, Kahyun Lee, Ruby Yang

Visual identity: An Endless Supply

Supporters: Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund and London Arts Board 

Events: Artist in Conversation: Shenece Oretha in Conversation with the Curators (10 May, 6pm–7:30pm), Panel Discussion: Thinking through Play (12 May, 5pm–6:30pm) and Online Creative Workshop: Practice Play with Meera Shakti Osborne (14 May, 11:30am–1pm)

British Library Logo
British Library

Supporter Logos: Unlocking Our Sound Heritage, The National Lottery Heritage Fund
With thanks to our supporters

This project is one of the Royal College of Art Curating Contemporary Art Shows 2021. MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) graduating students present five final projects in collaboration with leading UK based art organisations the British Library, Camden Art Centre, Furtherfield and Gasworks

Click here to visit the CCA 2021 website

Are you are interested in joining the next cohort of curators shaping the arts sector? Find out more about our MA Curating Contemporary Art and Curating Contemporary Art and Design short course.