Tracing the story of Melkorka, Dumb Listenings presents itself as a new sonic installation developed specifically for the Museum of Contemporary Art, London. This exhibition showcases the first international, solo presentation of work by Irish artist Richard Carr. The work itself has been developed through a series of ‘listening trips’, made by Carr to various parts of Iceland. Through its exhibition, Dumb Listenings transforms MOCA London into a space for the ear, where audiences are required to move and listen through the deeply layered and visceral patterns of sound; solitarily carving out a place for themselves in this new world that they find themselves in.
Melkorka is a princess; she is the first daughter of the Irish King Mýrkjartan of the magnificent kingdom of Medieval Ireland. However she loses all this the day she is kidnapped by the Vikings and brought as a slave to Iceland. Pretending she is dumb, Melkorka takes a personal vow of silence which lasts a few years. Relying on the practice of listening, she carves out a place for herself in this new world – all without uttering a word. This is the Saga of the Laxdalers which gives an insight into the early connections between the islands of Ireland and Iceland. Both the Icelandic Sagas and Irish Folklore share one of the oldest histories of storytelling in the world. Both countries share a landscape of mystique, sound and a population of listeners.
Image: Richard Carr, Listening Trip to Iceland. Photography by Image Masters