'Hummingbird Clock' (2016) by Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a permanent public artwork for the city, commissioned by Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool BID Company for the 2016 Liverpool Biennial.
For over ten years, the UK government has been using the humming sound generated by the electrical grid as a surveillance tool. Nearly all recordings made within earshot of this almost-silent humming can be forensically analysed to determine time and date, and whether the recording has been edited or altered. This technique has, so far, only ever been used by the state. Abu Hamdan’s ‘Hummingbird Clock’ is a new kind of public timepiece, located both online and physically, outside the law courts in Liverpool’s Derby Square. It is designed as tool for investigations into civil and human rights violations and state corruption. ‘Hummingbird Clock’ records the continual buzz of the electrical grid, making this data available to anyone who might need it.
Abu Hamdan’s work frequently deals with the relationship between listening and politics, borders, human rights, testimony and truth through the production of documentaries, essays, audio-visual installations, video works, graphic design, sculpture, photography, workshops and performance. He also makes audio analyses for legal investigations and advocacy.