Ashkal Alwan’s new space will launch on July 14 with a performance by Tarek Atoui and Eric La Casa.

Waters’ Witness — Beirut

Two showings at 5PM and 6:30PM

Between October 12 and 17, 2019, Tarek Atoui and Eric La Casa recorded Beirut’s harbor and the activity of its docks, hangars, and silos as part of Atoui’s ongoing I/E project, which aims to explore port cities. In the last days of their recording trip, they invited deaf students from the Orphan Welfare Society in Saida to both participate in recording the port and activate these recorded sounds as part of a performance. The activation was scheduled to take place on October 19, 2019 as part of the 8th edition of Home Works, Ashkal Alwan’s multidisciplinary forum—then indefinitely postponed on the eve of Lebanon’s uprisings. 

Three years later, this project will be presented in a new form conceived specifically for Beirut and Ashkal Alwan’s new space. La Casa and Atoui will be joined by a new group of students from the Orphan Welfare Society as well as drummer Akram Hajj, who has been closely working with Atoui in residency at his studio in Paris. Compositions made from sounds recorded at the Beirut Port will be played in underwater environments and inside Hajj’s bass drum. Compositions made from sounds recorded at the Beirut Port will be played in underwater environments. By sensing vibrations with the use of their hands, the guest performers will manipulate the harbor’s sounds and add other ones through touch, sight, and sign language. 

With the participation of:

– Orphan Welfare Society Saida Students: Ahmad al Hamzaoui, Abd el Rahman Moustapha, Farah Sadek, Yara Chehadeh, Reem Hamad, Hiba al Bathich

– Akram Hajj

Special thanks to:

– Pauline Roches: Production and Logistics

– Igor Porte and Thomas Besset: Research and Assistance (Paris)

– Jad Atoui: Advising and Coordination

– Orphan Welfare Society: Dr. Said Mekkaoui, Hiba Kain, Nisrine Khodr, Darine Habach

– Photo and collage by Alexandre Guirkinger

Find us in Mar Mkhayel:

Tarek Atoui is an artist and composer working within the realm of sound. Exploring new methods of collaboration and production, Atoui’s work often revolves around performances that develop from his extensive research into music history and tradition. His use of sound challenges and expands established ways of understanding and experiencing this medium.

In his work The Reverse Collection (2016), musical instruments of unknown age and origin, housed in an anthropology museum, are played and recorded, and then a new collection of instruments is created exclusively from listening to these recordings. His project WITHIN (2013) departs from Deaf culture to find new ideas for building instruments, composing and performing.

Atoui has participated in a number of exhibitions and festivals, including the Okayama Art Summit, Japan (2019); 58th International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia (2019); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel (2012); Performa 5, New York (2011); and Sharjah Biennial 9 (2009). He has also performed at Garage Moscow (2018); CCA NTU, Singapore (2017); Tate Modern, London (2016); Serpentine Gallery, London (2012); Sharjah Art Foundation (2011); Mediacity Seoul (2010); New Museum, New York (2010) and La Maison Rouge, Paris (2010).

Atoui was one of the artistic directors of the Bergen Assembly, Norway (2016), and STEIM Studios, Amsterdam (2007–2008). He studied contemporary and electronic music at the French National Conservatory of Reims (2007–2008).

Born in 1980 in Beirut, Atoui currently lives and works in Paris.

Eric La Casa

For 25 years, while listening to the environment, I have been questioning the perception of reality and has tried to expand the notion of infra-ordinary, this space-time at low intensity, from background noise to the inaudible passing by the wait. As a result of my in-situ listening processes, I listen to reality to reveal its phenomenological power. In the same way that the map stimulates a country’s reading, the in situ aesthetic object renews our relationship to space and time. I have worked in the field of sound creation since the early nineties through recording, record production, installation, radio and various types of publications.