23 October – 6 November 2021
The Island Club presents HARDCORE CONTINUUM, a two-week exhibition comprising a time-based performance and installation by Emiddio Vasquez.
HARDCORE CONTINUUM’s point of departure is a recorded factual encounter between grime music producer, Skepta, his young Cypriot cellmate, George, and a policeman at the Ayia Napa police station. During the conversation, George is asked to say something into a snuck-in voice recorder for Skepta’s future album release, to which he replies “I don’t understand”. This recording made it into the track, “Ayia Napa Skit”, which was released on Skepta’s debut album, Greatest Hits, in 2006 [https://youtu.be/CbMQgI-XStw].
In the first week of HARDCORE CONTINUUM, Emiddio Vasquez will speculate on George’s position and train himself on producing UK garage and grime music. Streams and references from music production and pirate radio subcultures, as well as the UK rave culture, will unravel and connect during the week. The performance will be documented on tapes and parts of it will be live-streamed from The Island Club’s Instagram account. In its second week, the exhibition will carry on without Vasquez’s presence, transitioning into an installation with the material and sonic leftovers from the artist’s performance. The show will conclude with an event featuring Vasquez’s DJ partner, Veronica Georgiou, taking place at The Island Club on Saturday the 6th of November.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from Simon Reynolds, who employs the term “hardcore continuum” to delineate what he takes to be the continuous development of UK dance music genres–hardcore, jungle, UK garage and grime–in the 1990s and 2000s. UK garage, in particular, reached its apex in, and due to, the exoticised and mythologised environment of Ayia Napa, but the latter also served as a turning point in the genre’s darker and grimier developments. HARDCORE CONTINUUM reflects on that turning point by directing the academic term towards the history of radio in Cyprus. In the 1950s, radio transmitted by foreign political actors in Cyprus helped shape ideologies in the Middle East and North Africa, arguably leading to the Suez crisis and complexifying the island’s role in the Levant. Today, radio transmission in Cyprus is closely associated with the ongoing presence of foreign military infrastructures.
Through a series of sonic and conceptual deconstructions of radio (featuring bat recordings, online videos, ELF radio recordings from Lady’s Mile and Troodos and field recordings from the empty alleys of Ayia Napa in the 2020 summer lockdown) the exhibition tests the notion of a historical “continuum” against the continuously permeative material properties of radio–properties also expressed by the forces of capital, extractivism, and colonialism.
Emiddio Vasquez (b. 1986, Santo Domingo) is a Cypriot-Dominican electronic musician and artist. His practice deals with material transformations that blur encoding-decoding processes across media as a way of engaging with the larger infrastructures at stake. Drawing on his personal memories of uprooting and his interest in audio, image, and computation technologies, his work explores themes surrounding the politics of visibility, mediated sensing, and the processes of subject formation. He is currently a PhD candidate in the transdisciplinary programme Media Art and Science at Arizona State University. His academic research interrogates the philosophical and aesthetic implications of treating digitality and computation under a materialist framework. In 2018, he founded Moneda, a record label, sound event series, and publishing initiative.
Text: Emiddio Vasquez
Poster: Chrysso Cosmas