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Guided tour of Tarek Atoui’s exhibition, Waters’ Witness, with Sarah Beaumont.

Tarek Atoui’s (b. 1980, Beirut) work inhabits the intersection of visual and sound arts. Known for his sonic installations and performances, Atoui privileges a sensory approach along with an investigative process that embraces history, anthropology, ethnology and musicology. He considers sound to be a catalyst for human interaction leading him to collaborate with other musicians, as well as researchers and musical instrument makers.

The exhibition Waters’ Witness, presented in Mudam Grand Hall and the Park Dräi Eechelen, is based on the ongoing project I/E Atoui initiated in 2015. Drawing upon research made in collaboration with the musicians and composers Chris Watson and Eric La Casa, Atoui uses sound recordings to document the human, ecological, historical and industrial realities of coastal cities that have a past rooted in their docklands, such as Athens, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Beirut and Porto. Working in close proximity to or under the water, Atoui uses various recording techniques to capture the sounds of the sea and docks, and materials such as metal, stone and wood.

With Waters’ Witness Atoui composes a soundscape that connects geographically and symbolically distinct realities. He thus creates space and time for new encounters, new exchanges and above all new immaterial connections, just like a port city that, by definition, lies between several influences and is a measure of a city’s growth and change.

Khalifa Port © Tarek Atoui. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger
Khalifa Port
© Tarek Atoui. Photo: Alexandre Guirkinger