File Note 135: Adam Farah - Camden Art Centre

Essay by Christopher Kirubi



memories, transcriptions and fantasies (moments... that didn’t last) unyielding & sacred mix Images References Quote Biography Credits

memories, transcriptions and fantasies (moments... that didn’t last) unyielding & sacred mix

I. (conversation)

Uh-huh La da da da da da da da, da da da da da Oh yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, exactly I like that (mm yeah) I want to enjoy life And I don’t know what I need to do Ok, ok yeah, to do that, yeah Yeah Fair enough, I get that, yeah It’s easy to succumb to overwhelming fears inside It’s like you have this thing you need which maybe exists under this kind of discursive context of what healing looks like and what it can be but you’re also saying it’s kind of like um a stance against— like you’re putting the work in the context that you’re also kind of like critical of but beauty has to flourish in the light Yeah, exactly Tell me… Why? Cause it’s just not respectful of the nature that all of this is coming from you know it’s coming from complete chaos, so let me just pay respects to that and also create a space that people don’t feel so pressured to connect with it, you know? I don’t know it’s destination I think the one thing I’ve done to try and protect my practice is to mess around with things, you know? To aesthetically mess around with things And the ground gave way beneath my feet And the earth took me in her arms Leaves covered my face Ants marched across my back Black sky opened up, blinding me I can’t be elusive with you, honey Let’s go down to the water’s edge And we can cast away those doubts (mm yeah) (feeling free) Yeah, the lyrics sum up what happened so perfectly to me, yeah And like, is your thinking ahead to do with like anxiety of what ahead could be? I wouldn’t say anxiety necessarily, it’s more just like… it’s more just like an uncertainty and I think I feel I need a change like, something needs to change, yeah I don’t know things feel very unclear for me right now I wanna breathe, Change, change all around, Go with the rhythm I’ve been wary of even like the way that if I talk about all of this it’s like, oh you’re just making a show about healing and self care and stuff in the way that the art world has just like completely gentrified those discourses in recent years, but I guess my art practice has tried to work against those like, simplifying discourses and reductive discourses, Expectations all around but my intuition knows no bounds (I know, I know) Also it’s the level of emotion, like the emotionality does tap in to something when you look at it that makes you feel less alone like, She’s got herself a universe But I’m not trying to dress it up in different things, um, I want it to be soft, I want it to be like the Velvet Rope and the Butterfly album and the Ray of Light album One thing that I find is that I like to be playful even humorous in a way but still keep it poetic

And who would believe what’s happening to me? And I feel, And I feel, And I feel, I can’t pretend these tears aren’t overflowing steadily Do you know how I feel? Can you feel me? I’m on overload in my head Imagining I’m looking in your eyes I can see you clearly Vividly emblazoned in my mind… A water fountain but instead of water it’s KA grape soda… on the floor there’s carpet with full plastic covering and there’s these two walls that are just enclosing the space within the space and I’m close to tears ‘Cause I don’t think you know how  feel, I don’t think you know how I feel so These are the dreams I’ll dream instead… a massive archival print of Brent Cross shopping centre… a CD tower from a closing down Virgin megastore… a video of me walking down here at night when it’s raining… Living in the memory of our song (I need you bad) I ran and I ran, I’m looking there still And there’s something that you can’t see… the Dado rail is an ode to my Dad really cause when we had our first council flat he decorated it really nicely and I just remember these things and there’s these little things in my practice which like to speak to how desire relates to class and the interior of your home is completely imbued with the ghosts of desire anyway (This boat is sinking this boat is sinking) and I’m close to tears I can’t let go of you now


1 Mariah Carey. 1997. ‘Breakdown.’ Track #6 on Butterfly. Columbia Records, 1997.

Guy Hocqenghem, The Screwball Asses (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2009) bell hooks,

All About Love (New York: HarperCollins, 2016)

C.G. Jung, Red Book: Liber Novus (London: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009)

Terrence McKenna, The Archaic Revival (New York: Harper San Francisco, 1992)

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo (Boulder: Shambhala Publications Inc, 1993)

Mariah Carey, Butterfly (Colombia Records, 1997)

Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra, Promises (Luaka Bop, 2021)

Whitney Houston, My Love is Your Love (Arista Records LLC, 1998)

Janet Jackson, The Velvet Rope (Black Doll Inc. and Virgin Records America, 1997)

Madonna, Ray of Light (Warner Records Inc. 1998)

Sugababes, One Touch (London Music Stream Ltd., 2000)

Brent Cross Shopping Centre, NW4 3FP

Cricklewood Broadway

Edgware Road

Friern Barnet Retail Park, N11 3PW Green Lanes

Kilburn Car Boot, NW6 5XA Kilburn High Road

The Mall Wood Green, formerly known as Wood Green Shopping City, N22 6YQ

Staples Corner Roundabout Vauxhall/Nine Elms Sunday Market, SW8 5AL

232 from Turnpike Lane Station to St Raphaels

221 from Turnpike Lane Station to Edgware

144 from Muswell Hill Broadway to Edmonton Green Bus Station

43 from Friern Barnet to London Bridge Station

‘Orange clouds roll by, they burn into your image and you’re still alive’
Mariah Carey


Adam Farah lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions and projects include: YESN’T Part I & II, Galerie Sultana, Paris, France (2020); NEW VIEWS ON SAME-OLDS, Exhibition Space of the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (2020); Brent Biennale 2020 / LUX Artist Moving Image Commission, London (2020); MEDICATED SUMMERS / BENEFITS TRAP / ENDS PORTALS,, Online (2019); NAE Open, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2019); The Range, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2019); BREATHLESS Mixtape, online (2018); Le Colt est Jeune & Haine, DOC, Paris (2018); PRAISE N PAY IT / PULL UP, COME INTO THE RISE [as free. yard], South London Gallery, London (2018); There’s Something in the Conversation that is More interesting than the finality of (a title), The Showroom, London (2018) and A History of Drawing, Camberwell Space, London (2018).


Christopher Kirubi is a London-based poet and artist who uses the mutability and promiscuity of images, objects and text to negotiate the limits of sexuality, gender, race and desire.

Generously supported by Ben Rawlingson- Plant and by Metroland Cultures in partnership with Brent Council, with funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.