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Olu Michael Odukoya, "The Most Beautiful Woman I Had Ever Seen", 2021

CIRCA + Olu Michael Odukoya x 10 questions

4. CIRCA:
You are incorporating sound performance, video, animation and graphics to remix the archives. Could you tell us in more detail what you will be doing and why you chose this response path? 

OLU MICHAEL ODUKOYA:
In order to explore this theme, I have created both an audio and a video component. The audio is comprised of ten recordings by a female reader, who describes images of women photographed by James Barnor: the subject’s hair, clothes, posture and environment, her expression or apparent mood. This harkens back to Barnor’s categorising of one of the women he photographed as being the most beautiful he had ever seen—I am interested in exploring the way a description of a photograph acts like a bridge between a physical document and a mental image, conjuring a picture that is at once accurate and inaccurate, personal and universal. The idea came to me after I created an audio component for the 18th issue of Modern Matter, riffing on James Baldwin to create a countdown marking the passage of time. In order to extend the project to a wider audience, I am intending for the audio component of my work with Barnor to be available for download on the web, offering an opportunity to hear the images described before convening at Piccadilly Circus for the actual artwork.