Review: Haroon Mirza: |||

“I certainly felt a bit changed by the end …” exhibition review by Cadi Froehlich LG

The new show at Lisson has been developed by Haroon Mirza, with some extra collaborations, including of the insect variety. Haroon Mirza’s work has always been a harnessing, highlighting and a collaboration of sorts with devices, lights and cables. These things emit frequencies which the artist makes audible for us and for me this breathes life into technology and the arcana of our daily technologically dependent lives. 

This new show focuses on a very special and specific frequency – 111hz which has been found in ancient carved caves in the world and is said to enhance and alter our neural frequencies. I imagine to myself that this idea of ancient civilisations observing the possibilities of this when working with the earth and rocks might have inspired Mirza to take it further. 

This show features a collaboration with his customary tools of cables, lights and synthesisers which work to harness and transmit sounds – and the lights illuminate PhotoVoltaic cells to create power for the show. These PV cells have been treated like canvases – altered, adorned and arranged like canvases in the space. 

The first room includes a film by Helga Dóróthea Cannon showing imagined rituals and Tibetan singing bowls, also at 111Hz. I found this almost overwhelming but with very beautiful moments when image and sound came perfectly together: Because of the nature of some of the generated sounds, things have a random element. Mushrooms and mycelium feature throughout the show – a further example of our interdependent relationship with nature.

Next, there is a light installation (also emitting 11Hz) and a PV cell wired round an ancient glacial boulder, in what I feel is a collaboration between technology and nature, the present and the deep past. Vibrations in our voices and movements were picked up by the boulder to make sound. In fact, the whole gallery is wired to pick up our movements which contribute further to what we hear. 

Upstairs are paintings by Krishna Amin Khan which are illuminated by surrounding PV cells arranged in the same holy pattern which makes up the free NFT included in the show, which features a mushroom at its centre. 

The final space features an ant farm housing leafcutter ants. As they go about their task of seeking out material to feed their host fungus, they cross a sensor, contributing a further 111hz to the space.

Mirza describes the set-up as “An elaborate way to make music with ants”

I’m not sure I noticed having my mind altered, but I certainly felt a bit changed by the end. For the better.

Cadi Froehlich LG, 2023
exhibition photos Cadi Froehlich

still from animating gif NFT by Krishna Amin Khan

Haroon Mirza: |||
Lisson Gallery
67 Lisson Street, London, NW1 5DA
This exhibition ran from 24 February – 6 April 2023