Sung Tieu: In Cold Print

Exhibition Launch: Fri 7 Feb, 6.30-11pm

Nottingham Contemporary presents a new commission by the Vietnam-born, Berlin/London-based artist, Sung Tieu, in her first major institutional solo exhibition in the UK.

In Cold Print comprises of a newly conceived installation, including sound, texts, sculptures and architectural interventions. Tieu's new body of work continues her ongoing investigation into the psychological dimension of warfare, acoustic weaponry and its relationship to Cold War ideologies.

At the heart of the exhibition, Tieu’s new soundscape manipulates material related to the so-called “Havana Syndrome”. First reported in late 2016 by US embassy staff posted in Cuba, it manifested in unexplained disorders and brain injuries resembling concussions, and was believed to be caused by a sound weapon. Spurring a multitude of theories, the US considered this to be a politically targeted attack. The Cuban government denies such accusations.

For In Cold Print, the artist exposed herself to a reconstruction of the acoustic attack to record her cerebral activity and translate it both visually and acoustically. Enquired from the perspective of Tieu's subjectivity and political agency, this new work questions the legibility of scientific narratives and the reliability of proof-making.

The exhibition space is dominated and divided by a maze of steel fences and concrete pillars. Within it, large vertical display screens showcase newspaper spreads, a continuation of the artist’s Newspaper 1969 – ongoing series. Acting as information agents, they reveal the complexity of the research material and the manipulated set up of the project, blurring the line between evidence, counter-evidence, science and conspiracy, while exploring how the dissemination of ideas can affect perception.

The multi-channel sound work is conceived in collaboration with composer Ville Haimala (one half of music duo Amnesia Scanner), and neuroscientist and psychologist Christian Sumner, with the support of Frederike Vanheusden and Rob Morris, all of whom are based at Nottingham Trent University. The digital news screens were developed with the journalistic advice of Caspar Shaller.

Nottingham Contemporary has produced the artist’s first publication, Oath Against Minimalism, in collaboration with Haus der Kunst on the occasion of Tieu’s first institutional exhibitions: Sung Tieu. Zugzwang (2020) at Haus der Kunst in Munich and In Cold Print (2020) at Nottingham Contemporary. Featuring four essays by international art historians and curators, as well as an interview with the artist, this extensively illustrated publication provides a comprehensive insight into Tieu’s practice; placing her work against the backdrop of bureaucratic power structures, global capitalism, the psychological effects of sound, and the legacies of the Cold War. The publication is now available on our online shop, as well as the Nottingham Contemporary shop, where it is available for a special exhibition price of £18 until 31 August 2020.

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