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Critical Practice

Adam Dove | Nexcyia

Adam Dove otherwise known as Nexcyia is an African-American sound artist and experimental ambient musician based in London and Paris. Working with found sound, Nexcyia weaves together harsh sound design and swooping soundscapes into works that bridge many moods, emotions and places through noise, granular synthesis, textures and rhythms.

His subject matter centers on the notions of alienation and otherness in the African-American experience and explores this through installation, sculpture, sound and moving image.

My work should not necessarily be easily digestible, more appealing or stripped of identity. More than ever, I feel a responsibility to use my practice to explore and confront the often-unpalatable reality of Black life in America. While this represents a great part of my work, it does not represent all of my practice, however. This work helps to put my many strains of thought into perspective.

From producing sound installations and pieces of music to creating video and soundscapes, I’ve explored a range of artistic expression. With the addition of collaborating with filmmakers and performers, more than anything, a journey outside my comfort zone. The more I’ve learned, the more I am reassured by the potential of my practice. While I have no idea where this journey will take me, I do know, however, that the ideas that I have been exposed to will forever influence me.

A few years back, I was not particularly interested in politics or drawn to big social issues. American race relations of late, however, ushered in a world that seemingly shut the door on inclusion and meaningful social justice. I could no longer turn a blind eye. In light of this, much of my creative focus has centered around the flashpoints of American race relations, while trying to make sense of it through my work. These flashpoints have given me pause to think and motivation to create.

In producing this portfolio, there is the work, and then the work behind the work. Crawling outside my anxiety has been the biggest obstacle to overcome. The first two years in this program were spent trying to avoid being judged. This final year has meant that there were no hiding places and I had to finally confront my self-doubt. While still a work in progress, I have learned to collaborate with other artists, discuss and follow briefs where necessary. I’ve even plucked up the courage to upload my sonic pieces to be heard by the outside world and have an EP entitled Origin out on Café OTO under my alias Nexcyia.

INTER(FEAR)ENCE speaks to the hierarchical division of sounded between whiteness and blackness, and on a deeper level, it speaks to the interactions between the powerful and the powerless. 

Inspired by the notion that fear creates a sonic filter, which prevents us from recognizing our common humanity, this piece puts forward the idea that there is a transparent line of fear that divides black and white America. This division is both deep and systemic.  

This transparent filter symbolizes the ideological barriers that interferes with our listening. When we do not listen, we do not accept the humanity of the other. 

This installation invites you to engage in two different perspectives and aims to explore how sound and listening impact racial politics. We hear anger, frustration, disbelief, fear, pride and humiliation. There is also condescension, domination, threats, impatience and violence. 

Inspired by the African-American writer and intellectual , W.E.B. DuBois. In Dusk of Dawn, DuBois described the doggedness of race as an invisible color line—a kind of transparent wall dividing blacks and whites.  

On one side of this transparent wall is where blacks reside—in a kind of vacuum.

On the other side of the color line is where whites live. The transparent wall allows the two worlds to see each other, but words and sounds are unable to penetrate.


Medium:

Car door, two speakers

Size:

160 x 220 / 00:07:00

Origin explores belonging, alienation and amnesia… Using archival family footage depicting the struggles within black households- but also an underlying sense of community and resilience. The video reflects notions of otherness and the precarity of life in the African- American experience. The family recordings take place in 2005 and 2008 in a small Texan town and Los Angeles. There is footage of dilapidated houses in neglected black neighborhoods that have not changed very much in the last century. The racial divides and disparities are as steadfast as the attitudes. The video speaks to those who have been othered, and faced with haunting memories, while also aiming to narrate a sonic foretelling of the future.

Afro-surrealism is not about the future it’s about the actual lived experience of black people, but includes elements of the metaphysical or the mystical that are present within the culture. This is essentially the direction of my work

What intrigued me by this aesthetic is that the drive behind is based on a need to re-write inherited narrative of black inferiority. Many artist and writers have worked toward the remaking of the African-American narrative as a way of owning one’s own identity.

Medium:

Video

Size:

00:20:02
Nexcyia - Us

'Origin' meditates on place, time and being, using thick brushstrokes of swelling synthesis to come to terms with the past and present. Loss and longing haunts each clouded drone, wandering melody and textural wash, creating dense layers that float around and encircle one another in a weightless space. Each track feels like a memory peered through a fogged window, watching as it slowly fades into the distance, or an orchestra heard playing a mile away, amplified over rivers and hills. Nexcyia takes us on a journey with no set co-ordinates, conjuring otherworldly music rooted somewhere that can't be found.

Medium:

Sound

Size:

00:20:00

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Texas 2005

This exploration into Afrossurealism started with Texas 2005 which naturally culminated into a series of videos such as Origin and Human (un_fold). The videos use the same footage capturing the notion of a multiverse – I spent the better part of the year composing and mixing the music while collecting archival family footage from my family in Texas and Los Angeles. I feel drawn to this archival footage not only because it’s my family, but because of the way it’s been recorded. This footage depicts the struggles within black households – there’s a sense of vulnerability in the visuals but also an underlying sense of community and resilience. These recordings take place in 2005 at my Aunt’s home in a small Texas town. There is footage of dilapidated houses in neglected black neighborhoods that have not changed very much in the last century. The racial divides and disparities are as steadfast as the attitudes. Muti-generational trauma, like expectations of privilege are difficult to shift.

Medium:

Video

Size:

00:03:14