The unknown celebrity

Redmond, Sean [Artist] and Kardos, Leah [Composer] (2019) The unknown celebrity. The model citizen. .


In the Unknown Celebrity, a 1:1 replica of a ‘devoted’ fan’s bedroom becomes the gallery space. The room has a rug, a bed, dressing table and lamp. The walls are golden and red curtains fall down the central wall, where a celebrity shrine is worshipped. Personal items are found in the room: each adorned with the image of the unknown celebrity. Original music plays from a series of discrete speakers. At the centre of the bedroom is the celebrity ‘shrine’ comprised of candles, a large central photograph of the unknown celebrity, and a plinth with a bell jar containing a treasured celebrity memento. The celebrity figure found in the room is a composite unknown: a non-descript everybody, but whose ideal face has been created through a software app that renders it by the regeneration of several male and female iconic celebrities in currency today. All the celebrity memorabilia found in the room will have this uncanny face, this nobody’s name, adorning it. The room, the shrine, will worship this unknown celebrity: this model citizen. Of course, the person whose room it is, is the one and same unknown celebrity who is being worshipped– a haunting mirror on their own invisibility and hungriness to be noticed. Their self-adoring room guarantees them the ubiquity of model citizenship. The four separate components of the unknown celebrity’s soundscape are designed to be experienced in various locations within the constructed environment. The sonic scenes are haunted by timbres of embedded musical memory, experience and emotion. All compositions are set to a tempo of 60BPM. Mirror (9’20") plays with repetition, feedback, texture, mimicry and multiplicity of a single voice. Memory (8’17”) uses the aesthetics of vaporwave, ambient trip hop and broken tape effects. Shrine (21’08”) is a collage of original vocal recordings, reversed, resampled and stretched. Sleep (10'32”) is an extended version of a piece originally released on the album Machines (2012) and includes cello parts performed by Catherine Saumarez.

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