‘Sospiro’ by Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf

Artist & Producer Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf presented Sospiro, a participatory performance on breathing, vocalisation and meditation with violinist Blaize Henry and sopranos Julia Daramy-Williams & Jacqueline Yu. Sospiro, (Italian for ‘sigh’) references the permeating and golden light of a sunrise, and the power of the breath.

This participatory, three act experience included:

  1. An introduction / mood setting improvised piece by violinst Blaize Henry
  2. A one-to-one breathing and vocalisation session between two sopranos Julia Daramy-Williams and Jacqueline Yu
  3. An invitation to the audience to form a human microphone / harmonic work

These three acts merged sonically into a single piece.

Sospiro continued from an earlier work by Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf titled Nigredo A Decomposition (2019, performed at Raven Row). This durational work was based on ritual and repetition, alluding to and a word play on the nigredo period of alchemy, referencing the state of blackness, putrefaction and decomposition crucial to the turning of base materials into gold. Nigredo and its new sister piece Sospiro are improvised sessions working with ideas of light and sound as immersive modes of meditation. Thematically, Sospiro alludes to solidarity, harmony, inner light and the voice as a form of protection and communal bonding.

Sospiro was a part of the live programme Collective Intimacy taking place within Theaster Gates’s installation Black Image Corporation at 180 The Strand, London presented by The Showroom, Prada and The Vinyl Factory. Guests were welcomed inside a cocoon of comforts to recline, breathe and enjoy jasmine tea, derived from a flower that blooms at night and has associations with love and divination.

Nephertiti Oboshie Schandorf is an an artist and producer whose practice focuses on performance, audio and moving image in non-gallery contexts, producing discursive works, collaborations and research projects. As Producer for Larry Achiampong’s Relic Traveller (2017- ) she has worked in partnership with Somerset House, Tate Liverpool, Jerwood Visual Arts and PS/Y. Nephertiti has also developed and delivered mid to large-scale exhibitions and programmes with the Royal College of Art with the British Film Institute, LUX and the Picturehouse Cinema Group (2013 – 14). She is currently Project Manager for Peckham Platform’s Create Civic Change, has a BA in photography from the Manchester School of Art and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art from the Royal College of Art. Born in West Africa and raised in East London.

This programme took place within Theaster Gates’s installation Black Image Corporation presented by Prada, The Vinyl Factory, and The Showroom. Collective Intimacy is inspired by Gates’s ethos of collaboration and The Showroom’s commitment to togetherness and communal knowledge, taking on multiple trans-located narratives of the current Black experience as a point of departure for a cosmopolitan worldview. In response to Gates’s reactivated spaces in Chicago and how his socially engaged projects enable communities to connect and grow, Collective Intimacy aimed to create a new space for people to gather, listen, converse, and contemplate amongst a fusion of art, design, music, and everyday life.

Black Image Corporation presented distinct spaces creating a myriad of possibilities for collective engagements, featuring an installation of Gates’s art objects, furnishings, and new films that capture the methodologies of urban renewal and community activation founding his practice. Pieces from Chicago imbued with powerful histories, uses, and localities resonated with distinctive lounge design from here in London – like a love letter between two cities, under the roof of a new House. Taking place at both 180 The Strand and The Showroom, Collective Intimacy hosted interdisciplinary interventions by artists, musicians, designers, writers, thinkers, collectives and members of the public, who were all invited to distort notions of selfhood and togetherness in the spirit of creating a global community.


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