‘What actually got me interested in sound’, Emeka Ogboh says, is ‘its ability to take you to places. It transports you to where you are not physically present.’ The Nigerian-born artist, who lives and works between Lagos and Berlin, creates audio installations that capture, for instance, the bustle and noise of urban life in Lagos or a choir of African refugees singing the German national anthem in 10 different languages. In a new work commissioned by Talbot Rice Gallery and Edinburgh Art Festival, 27 citizens of the European Union who live in Scotland – and a lone UK citizen – sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ at the same time, but in their respective mother tongues. The result literally gives a voice to those who were not able to vote in the EU referendum in 2016. ‘Emeka Ogboh: Song of the Union’ is at the Burns Monument in Edinburgh until 29 August.
Where is your studio?
My studio is a 2020 model 13-inch MacBook Pro.
What do you like most about the space?
What frustrates you about it?
Sometimes I wish it could be faster.
How messy is your studio?
Very messy… the desktop is littered with folders and files. But thankfully there’s the search bar and Command-F prompt.
What does it smell like?
It smells like overheated electrical circuits sometimes.
What’s the weirdest object in there?
Workout apps. I never use them.
Which artistic tool could you least do without?
Ableton Live 10 Suite.
What’s the most well-thumbed book in your studio?
A PDF file version of Ikpo Nsibidi Igbo [a project to convert symbols from the Nsibidi ideographic script into morphographic characters].
Do you pin up images of other artists’ works?
A few times in the past I have used images of Jeremy Geddes paintings as wallpapers.
Do you cook in the studio?
No I do not cook in the studio, but I browse for recipes and watch a lot of YouTube cooking videos.
What do you listen to while you’re working?
My work music taste is quite eclectic – Igbo minstrels, Afrobeats/Afro-pop, Amapiano, electronic music, techno, Highlife, reggae.
Do you ever sleep in your studio?
No, rather it sleeps on me.
Is anything (or anyone) banned?
Yes, practically everyone is banned.
‘Emeka Ogboh: Song of the Union’ is at the Burns Monument, Edinburgh, until 29 August.