James Webb (born 1975 in South Africa) is an interdisciplinary artist who often works with large-scale sound installations, many of them in the public space. In collaboration with the Swedish History Museum, Webb will be producing a work linked to the multitude of religious beliefs represented in Sweden today. The work is made for the Gothic hall in close proximity to the museum’s collection of ecclesiastical art. James Webb is also Iaspis artist in residence, Konstnärsnämnden.
Sound installation, variable length, 2016
Prayer (Stockholm) is a multi-channel sound installation comprising recordings of prayer and vocal worship from religions in Stockholm, broadcast simultaneously from twelve floor-based speakers. Each speaker transmits its own separate selection of prayers, arranged consecutively and looped, so that when all speakers play at the same time an ever-changing sound environment is experienced.
The audience may wander freely through the installation, listening to the polyphony of voices from all the speakers at once, or alternatively, kneel down to listen to individual prayers broadcast from any particular speaker.
The project was started in 2000, and is created in situ every time, with the prayers collected from all the different religious groups operating in the host city, e.g. Stockholm. These have included, but are not limited to, most denominations of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism, as well as new religious movements and traditional, pre-Christian faiths.
Prayer (Stockholm) has been specially curated to be shown in the Gothic Hall in relation to the museum’s historical religious artefacts, where it can represent the multiplicity of faith in contemporary Sweden.