Documentary by Tarek Atoui
WITHIN (a documentary)
WITHIN is a collaborative project that investigates how deafness influences the way we perceive and understand sound performance, its space and instrumentation. For the Bergen Assembly in September 2016, WITHIN culminated in a new chapter for which Tarek Atoui has developed nine new instruments that expand notions of listening beyond the aural. These instruments were brought together for the first time at Sentralbadet in Bergen, where composers and performers were invited to experiment with them in different ways, playing them separately or as an ensemble. The design of these instruments and their playability are the result of workshops and collaborations between the artist, instrument makers, deaf and non-deaf students and volunteers. The instruments were made progressively, as the result of exhibitions and residencies that Tarek Atoui initiated in several institutions in the United Arab Emirates, France and Germany, where he met acoustic instrument makers, speaker designers, software engineers and musicians — all contributors to the making of this ensemble.
Tarek Atoui is an artist and composer, working within the realm of sound and whose work often revolves around performances that develop from extensive research into music history and tradition, exploring new methods of collaboration and production. He studied sound art and electroacoustic music and in 2008 worked as artistic director of the STEIM studios in Amsterdam, and was appointed co-artistic director of the 2016 Bergen Assembly, a triennial for contemporary art in Norway.
At the core of his work is an ongoing reflection on the notion of instrument and how it overlaps with the acts of composing and performing. His use of sound challenges and expands our established ways of understanging and experiencing this medium. His project WITHIN, for instance, departs from Deaf Culture to find new ideas for building instruments, composing and performing. On The Reverse Collection, instruments of unknown age and origin in an anthropology museum get played and recorded, and a new collection of instruments is being created from exclusively listening to these recordings. Atoui has presented widely his work internationally at the leading museums and art biennials.