23 Oct 2018


Please go to www.faribradley.co.uk

Au Revoir Works!

Three of my works, two electric light works and a textile piece, have gone into private and public collections recently, and I found myself wondering if I'd ever see them again.

Certainly I can hope to see the Joni Mitchell piece On a Rock Floating Through Space, 2017 in my lifetime, as the not-for-profit Maraya Arts Centre in Sharjah has a great record of displaying its collection and finding new ways for the public and artists to engage with it.

I'll never forget that it was on the first floor of Maraya, which was a drop-in study centre, I first met encountered youngsters from all the Emirates gathering in one place. That seems important when you know the country at a certain proximity. 


Mitchell's song lyrics which I heard and then read as a teen, have remained with me since surfacing from time to time when the moment is apt. I regard Joni Mitchell as one of three of the greatest song lyricists of my time. The title of the song Hejira, and title of the album, is taken from the Arabic word for journey. Although the word hijra usually referring to the migration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622, the song describes a long car journey Mitchell made and the realisations that came to her while in that limbo:
We all come and go unknown 
Each so deep and superficial between the forceps and the stone
Well I looked at the granite markers,
Those tributes to finality, eternity
And then I looked at myself here 
Chicken scratching for a piece of immortality
We're only particles of change I know, I know
We're just orbiting around the sun 
But how can I have that point of view 
When I'm bound and tight to someone.
When we opened Stitches to Save 9 With, the exhibition in which these works featured, arts writer and curator Mahnaz Fancy held a really insightful Q&A with me on the works and we listened to extracts of the music that had inspired the pieces. After which the amazing cellist Clara Asuaje performed an improv piece with me in reference to the film Electric Dreams.

2 Oct 2017

Frieze Week Specials - Resonance104.4FM

  Tonight and for the next four days, Resonance104.4Fm
 broadcast a series of programmes I've produced discussing 
 Frieze London, and the many satellite events taking place as
 the international art world make a yearly visit to London. 

 Episodes 1-4 touch on: 'What has been the changing face of 
 the fair, how does it impact not only the art market but the 
 art scene in London and what other events have grown up, 
 not only to benefit from the international footfall and 
 attention, but to supplement some of the shortcomings of the 
 art market in general?'

 With live performances, cut ups from my own Frieze and
 Zoo Art Fair audio 2007-present, interviews and debate, the
 shows were broadcast on air, on digital radio signal and
 streamed online. Podcasts are below.

Ep. 1 - Mon 2nd October 8-9pm 

Frieze Week Overview

    •   Sumi Ghose - arts writer and ex-Asia House director, previously Exhibitions Director at the Union Museum Dubai, now Japan House, London

    •   The Legendary Bob Parks  - Gallery of Everything

    •   Cody Ledvina  - Gallery of Everything

    •   Gordon Cheung, London born artist of Hong Kong heritage, with Alan Cristea Gallery and Edel Assanti, London

Ep. 2 - Tues 3rd Oct 8-9pm 

What’s on and what’s been discontinued, inside Frieze and in the wider London Frieze Week 2017 programme

    •    Silvana Lagos -  Cultural Programming at Approved by Pablo, Studio Carsten Höller & Loop Magazine

    •    Maria Stefanos who ran a independent gallery that is now closed, on the changing faces of the London gallery scene

    •    Bernadine Brocker Weider, director of Vastari, a database of private collections, a place for curators to go look up works before they put together a show, and working with Cromwell Place to run a series of high profile talks all through Frieze Week in Kensington.

Ep. 3 - Wed 4th October 4-5pm
Shooting Arrows at monoliths within the arts
Issues of unequal opportunities, mis- and non-representation in the arts

  •  Touria El Glaoui 
 Founding Director of the leading international art fair dedicated to Africa, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House London, New York and now Morocco.
  •  Niamh Coghlan
  Associate Director - Richard Saltoun Gallery presenting two solo booths across the fairs. At Frieze’s new ‘Sex Works’ section they’ll exhibit new and historical works by the radical feminist artist Renate Bertlmann, whereas at Frieze Masters’ ‘Spotlight’ section they’ll present 100 Boots (1972), the seminal conceptual work of the American artist Eleanor Antin, whose recent photographic series are on show - and still will be during Frieze week - at their gallery space in Fitzrovia. As female artists who began working in the 60s, one in Austria and one in America, they have both faced an uphill battle to have their work exhibited, collected, and included in mainstream discussions and critical analysis at the time.
  •      Sophie Hall 
 Co-Director at Flowers Gallery, currently showing at their two London gallery space Aleah Chapin's monumental nudes of older women and Wabbling Back to the Fire an exhibition by Nicola Hicks MBE, brings together sculptures from 1999 to the present day, drawing on themes that express the universal, and often darker aspects of humanity, encompassing grief, love, understanding, war and money.

Ep. 4 - Thurs 5th October 8-9pm

Frieze’s impact on London and UK

James Brett, John Martin, Nayrouz Tatanaki and Tina Zeigler
A broad perspective of the art market’s influence on metrics of success and London's response to the direction of Frieze Fairs.

How do large organisations stay in touch with the world around them outside of the art market, some personal reflections on the art market’s influence on metrics of success, as well as a discussion of things we've seen popping up and disappearing over the years during Frieze week, and how Frieze is perceived by the rest of the country/world versus, say, the Biennial.

    •    Nayrouz Tatanaki
Director at Lisson Gallery

    •    James Brett
Founder founder of The Museum + Gallery of Everything

    •    Sumi Ghose
Arts writer and ex-Asia House director, previously exhibitions director at the Union Museum Dubai, now Japan House

    •    John Martin 
A founder of Art Dubai, now launching Cromwell Place, who this year are programing a wide series of talks and open days for their new working model space in Kensington

    •   Tina Ziegler
Fair Director of Moniker Art Fair, London's foremost street art and urban art fair, The Old Truman Brewery, London


  • Live on air on 104.4FM, on your radio dial in London
  • On digital radio in London
  • Stream online globally, for which there's also a handy app:

12 Sept 2017

In the Dead of Night, The Reeds Speak of Separation

An extract from my talk at English Literature Department at University of Bristol, 2017, Animal Utterances conference. Discussing a summer spent recording at all times of day in the Sharjah desert and mountains, I play out the sounds of night-caterwauling made by animals both caged in the outdoor wildlife centre, and free in the wilderness around it. After listening I show the graphic shape made by that collective sound, comparing the longing in the night-chorus to that longing described by Persian poet Rumi as the bird longing for unity. The images below, of the animals' collective sound intertwined with the physical space taken up by the mosque, one a ghost of another, are a miraculous find made by chance in my late night recordings. The pre-dawn azan had triggered amongst animals of every species, a huge collective cry, that mimicked the shape of the mosque nearby.
In the Dead of Night, The Reeds Speak of Separation, Bradley, 2017. Digital print on silk coated digital paper. 100x300cm

 "Further away from the wolf pen, we made a more balanced recording of all the morning's singers with whom the wolves had been calling. By making the same recording overnight from the leopard enclosure, we were able to hear more of the finer animal calls in the mix. Expanding the sound, I discovered a blip in the timeline, a rising and falling, a cacophony of creatures, calling up to the sky. I then had to work out whether whether it was the airplanes that had set off this morning cacophony or something else. It was in fact, the first azaan, before the call to prayer, in the distance which can be heard faintly at the start and end of the collective racket made by the animals.

One can see the shape of the sound, rising up out of the darkness, is much fuller for the chorus and resembles to my mind the very mosque it is singing along with, or perhaps masking. Have the animals become the sketchers of the acoustic footprint of the mosque itself, creating their own architecture in space but with sound?

In the Dead of Night, The Reeds Speak of Separation 2, Bradley, 2017. Digital print on silk coated digital paper. 100x100cm
 The azaan is a sound one hears everywhere, even in desert outposts makeshift and resplendent mosques alike pepper the landscape. I was born in Iran and for me the azaan played out 5 times a day for the first formative years of my life, it somehow gets under the skin. The praying face East from wherever they are, like migratory birds who know the direction of north, south, east, west, wherever you place them, the one who prays must orientate themselves. The prayer, conducted at the same time each day brings people together, it is said 'to remember their purpose in life', a reminder of their collective humanity, of their oneness. So how do the animals react to this circadian ritual of acousmatic sound? In a situation in which they cannot walk away, the azaan becomes part of their own daily ritual.  Here is evidence that the animals join in, and enunciate in unaccompanied crescendo. Needing no amplification, they do not sing, but rather call out in complete darkness, a time when sound carries further than any other during the day and has more agency. The different species call as one, to whom we do not know, call to all free animals, who too join in.  We often discuss the voices of animals but less what they hear, yet certainly they are hearing, first the azaan, then themselves, then their cacophonous unity, and with that collective sound they supersede the boundaries of their cages. The inhabitants of the wildlife centre making their acoustic footprint larger than the limits of the ones they are able to make in the desert sand, sending their sound up like a free bird, or the souls that Persian Sufi poet Jalal aldin Rumi compares often to a bird.

“The soul is like a falcon and the body chains,
a slave that's bound of foot and broken winged.”


Rumi's spiritual ornithology compares mankind unfavourably to the spirit, which is a falcon, who would return to the arm of the king, i.e. the divine. Yet  to Rumi humans are only owls (fowls), they are not falcons. Here in The Capturing of the Falcon Among the Owls in the Wilderness
(Mathnawi, book II):

O all you disputatious fowls, be falcons
and listen to your royal falcon-drum
From your diversity to unity
set out from all directions joyfully!

In the Dead of Night, The Reeds Speak of Separation 3, Bradley, 2017. Digital print on silk coated digital paper. 100x100cm
But most of all it is Rumi’s flute, which resembles the expression of the soul yearning to return to its state of oneness, which I hear amongst the animals before dawn. I returned to this poem as I know it very well, having performed it several times including at Cafe Oto and  the Delfina Foundation London. Here in his poem, Rumi describes the throat as the flute, the utterance that links us, that calls to return to the divine, while the voiceless fish (the spiritually dead mystics - religious authorities -, who cannot fly, nor use the air to carry up their call) being blind to what is all around them, are unable to satisfy this longing:

Listen to the story told by the reed, 
of being separated:

"Since I was cut from the reedbed, 
I have made this crying sound.
Anyone apart from someone he loves 
understands what I say.
Anyone pulled from a source 
longs to go back.
At any gathering I am there, 
mingling in the laughing and grieving,
a friend to each, but few 
will hear the secrets hidden /
within the notes. 

No ears for that.
Body flowing out of spirit, 
spirit up from body: no concealing /
that mixing. 

But it's not given us 
to see the soul.
The reed flute 
is fire, not wind. Be that empty."

Hear the love-fire tangled 
in the reed notes, as bewilderment 
melts into wine.
The reed is a friend 
to all who want the fabric torn 
and drawn away.
The reed is hurt and salve combining. 
Intimacy and longing for
intimacy, one song
A disastrous surrender, 
and a fine love, together.
The one who secretly hears this 
is senseless. A tongue has 
one customer, the ear.
If a sugarcane flute had no effect, 
it would not have been able to make sugar
in the reedbed. Whatever sound 
it makes is for everyone.
Days full of wanting, let them go by 
without worrying that they do.
Stay where you are, inside 
such a pure, hollow note.
Every thirst gets satisfied except 
that of these fish, the mystics, 
who swim an ocean of grace 
still somehow longing for it!
No one lives in that without 
being nourished every day.
But if someone doesn't want 
to hear the song of the reed flute,
 it's best to cut conversation 
short, say goodbye, and leave.

18 Aug 2017

Venice Pavilion That Contains Neither Artists, Nor Art?

2017 Tunisian pavilion curator at Venice, Lina Lazaar explains her thinking behind a phantom art show, in which would-be Tunisian migrants, who were previously refused entry into Europe, become performers in a public display of contempt for the confines of nationality imposed on us by government documents such as visas. This hour long interview also became a print article in Canvas magazine, Middle East.

15 May 2017

Oxford Handbooks

Harper's Bazaar Arabia Commission, 2014.
A chapter is coming out on sound in the new Oxford Handbook on Sound Art.

Aside from that there are several biennial review articles soon to be published in print, plus a paper for Bristol University's Animal Utterance conference with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery 24th and 24th May. I'm presenting on findings made when recording endangered Arabian wildlife in the desert and mountains the summer heat for a series of permanent sound installations at a wildlife centre in Sharjah.

A few of my sounds from Documenta14, in Athens are due as a mix for several online stations (in Italy and Greece) but here below's what they sounded like, on one of the UK Resonance104.4FM on air broadcasts.

23 Feb 2017

Stitches to Save 9 With - Solo Show March 9- April 24th, 2017, The Mine

No (Wo)man's an Island, 2017. PVC leather, embroidery. Dimensions variable
After several years in my practice of experimenting with sculptural forms inside the gallery context, and outside as sculpture or performative gesture in areas of designated 'public space', Stitches to Save 9 With at The Mine; a mainly textile series that explores language, meaning and memory. The works in this series evoke the sound of spoken or chanted lines in the mind of the onlooker. The sing-song delivery of many of these sayings, learned along with the lines, are meant to make these phrases indelible in the mind. Ironically however these maxims, truisms and dictums, although often useful, are largely forgotten or half remembered and are falling out of use.

Parts of longer speeches or poems, for example by John Dunne (1572-1631) or Seneca (4 BC–AD 65), these were once common 'verbal tools' yet now like hand stitching itself, is falling out of use.  Yet writers such as Dunne, wrote about such lasting and recurring dangers as the dangers of isolationism, which could not be more relevant to the politics of today as questions of citizenship, 'race', and movement arise. On a Ukrainian flag are stitched a new proverb for today in red, white and blue: You can't stop the wind from carrying a seed.

Many of the phrases we know and remember are described are imagined differently in other languages, for example 'Break a leg' translates as 'Into the wolf's the mouth' in Italian. As these translated sayings impart the same message, they are at once cultural markers of both our overall oneness as a species, as well as our localised differences as citizens, class members, even gendered groups.

On another level, a reading of these words of wisdom brings into focus aspects of a distinctly male view of the world, revealing archaic, even damaging perspectives in their exclusion and exceptionalism, that we have unwittingly perpetuated. There is therefore a tension between what is needed in language, what we recall and what we use ourselves in contemporary sourced echo this tension, I feel, about memory and inheritance, our fast culture, the disposable production-ethic of cheap items today and also the way we make quickly surmised readings and how that is related to the way we view 'art'.

I began to consider what could the truisms for today be, and what would our inherited phrases have been if women had written history instead of men?

With Stitches to Save 9 With art's ability to draw attention to aspects of our ethics, is drawn in close parallel with the poetry's (or song lyrics') ability to do the same, as is the highly elucidating power poetry commands to suggests nuanced layers of meaning while also speaking on a very direct level to the listener. The press release below, part-edited by Dr. Ali MacGilp, discusses the concept and its relation to the overall material concerns of the show.

Electric Dreams Can't Last, 2017. Acrylic lightbox, vinyl image, electric cabling. (60 x 90cm)
No Shadows in Paradise, 2017. Neon tubing, perspex backing, electronic and cabling. (70 x 120 cm)

For the women's work aprons "No Woman is an Island", I took from English poet John Donne, in what is an extremely topical poem even today.

Devotions upon Emergent Occasions by John Donne
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod(1) be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory(2) were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 
1 Piece of earth 
2 A high point of land or rock projecting into a body of water
On a Rock Floating Through Space, 2017. Cotton, embroidery thread, found frame, aerosol, coloured sand. 90 x 90cm
The True Veil, 2017. Embroidery thread, cotton, found wooden frame. (90 x 70cm)

In this exhibition, Fari Bradley explores the nuances of language, history and memory. Contemplating either the usefulness or destructive nature of traditionally recited proverbs, truisms, and dictums alongside several new ones for today, Bradley renders them as signifiers, using textile and mixed media.

Stitches to Save 9 With pits the deliberate form of stitching against quickly spoken lines, fleeting inspirations and ‘quippage’. A proverbial expression, 'a stitch in time saves nine' is an incentive: to stitch a tear in a cloth, now, before the tear becomes larger and harder to mend.  The ‘nine’ refers to the greater number of stitches that will be needed later, if one quick stitch isn't performed ‘in time’. This and other wise homilies in this body of work are falling out of use - just as hand stitching itself is disappearing.

Using a range of materials, Bradley employs methods and tools that formed part of her upbringing. With a parent who studied and practiced professional dress-making, offcuts had been Bradley's childhood playthings. Here, alien found objects, chanced upon threads and remnants serve as inspiration for her work, chiming with the popular reaction for a DIY aesthetic, against today's overwhelmingly disposable culture of low cost production. Such stitched works, while historically a hobby for the upper classes, also reference a certain Anglo-Saxon work ethic preached at the poor. Referencing this WWII 'make do and mend' work ethic, spoken, chanted lessons for life are rendered in traditionally feminine techniques, employing domestic skills that young girls once had to demonstrate in order to become 'marriage material'.

Decoratively Bradley's pieces resist a perspective framed in language, that often posits the idea that human experience is 'male experience'; No man is an island, for example. Yet while Stitches to Save 9 With is founded on the often sombre messages behind these mechanically memorised sayings, Bradley's techniques employ layers of satirical significance and testingly playful semantics.

Working mainly as a sound and radio artist, Bradley's previous works include musical scores rendered in weave, or sculptures combining textiles and electronics. Knitting patterns were a doorway into the algorithmic processes of electronic music, while sewing patterns were parallels to the diagrams used in building electronic circuits, and are a visual language Bradley has explored in her arts practice since 2006

Marcel Proust’s observation“The remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were” inspired Bradley to visualise memory expressed as an imperfect picture, on which we have all embroidered our own threads, colouring experience as we saw them. Here the emotion involved in remembering contrasts with the automated way in which, for centuries, past generations have handed down these immutable wisdoms. Such spoken adages were modified to make them easy to remember and repeat, yet lack the vital quality of adaptation for the future, by which all things must survive.

My past work with The Mine includes a performance with Chris Weaver, for which we invited artists Jumairy and Sofia Chatsisaranti to collaborate: 



10 Feb 2017

How do You Fealh? Lying Fallow for a Season.

Question: Is an artist a machine?


(făl′ō) adj.
fal′low·ness n.

To rest is to gather energy and ideas, does this make you a better human, a better artist? If output is continuous, are you an unthinking machine. It's a bit of a leap, to let go of continuous action, to pause creative output. Like a library taking time to restock itself.
The age old wisdom of 'lying fallow' for a season, which was 4 months in London, has been most instructive.
A period of gathering.  It has been both wonderful and a chore.
As a result I'm able to say, one does not waste talent lying fallow, but instead, one allows it to deepen.

A fallow field is:
1. Plowed and left unseeded during one growing season.
2. Characterized by apparent inactivity: a fallow gold market.
3. Plowed and tilled (land), time taken to eradicate or reduce weeds.

[Middle English falow, from Old English fealh, fallow land.]

How do you fealh?
Harvest will be around March, with a series of surround sound performances in Sharjah in the UAE for Maraya Art Centre, a solo showing of my work in Dubai at The Mine and a short music residency at New York University in Abu Dhabi in February.

February also sees the launch of our radio works for Sharjah Art Foundation, When the Near Becomes Far.

Meanwhile my two weekly radio shows on Resonance 104.4FM and Resonance Extra have continued, so perhaps it wasn't a completely fallow period: Six Pillars and Free Lab Radio.