Susan Philipsz

Susan Philipsz, Songbook, in: A Prior #16 (2008)
©Susan Philipsz

Susan Philipsz (born 1965 in Glasgow)
In her youth, she sang with her sisters in a Catholic church choir in Maryhill. She was a Director of Catalyst Arts in Belfast for several years. She currently lives and works in Berlin.
Originally a sculptor, she is best known for her sound installations. She records herself singing a cappella versions of songs which are replayed over a public address system in the gallery or other installation.

Philipsz contributed a Song Book to A Prior #16 (2008): In the case of Susan Phillipsz, Peio Aguirre’s exploration of her practice to date, focuses on the superimposition of voices in the work of this single artist, attending to the political and psycho-analytic implications of repetition and the migration of voices between bodies (not just human/collective bodies, but also the physical media at her disposal such as speakers, film projectors and landscape). He also notes the paradoxical presentness, or awareness of site, that comes with these migrations. For her contribution to A Prior, Philipsz collaborated with the Berlin-based designer Florian Ludwig in a solution that extends Aguirre’s observation: in this context, presenting a song/book within a book/journal accentuates awareness of the page before our eyes and the (im)possibility of making that page sing.


Anouk De Clercq

Editorial A Prior #16

It may be said that any issue of A Prior involves intense collaboration and somehow practically engages with the idea. One thing that defines A Prior from other publications is the team’s interest in defining content, not at an arm’s length distance from the artists featured (a ‘critical distance’ that has perhaps traditionally been thought of as a requirement of good journalism), but in close collaboration with them.

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