The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is currently showing an immersive sonic installation titled Water’s Witness. The exhibition is created by contemporary Lebanese artist and composer Tarek Atoui and combines elements of an ongoing 10-year project run by the artist. Atoui works with many sensorial and spatial possibilities of sound, which are featured in Water’s Witness and relate to multiple aspects of place, history, and ecology.
The sounds in Water’s Witness are captured from harbour cities across the globe. These cities include Athens, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Istanbul, and now Sydney. The sounds from these places encompass multiple art forms such as installation, performance and an archive of sounds continuously evolving as new harbours are added.
To establish multiple sounds of water for the exhibition, Atoui collaborates with an international network of creative producers. Musicians, instrument makers, audio technicians, and hearing impaired people all work with Atoui to record sounds close to the sea and under the water. Musicians and field recording specialists Chris Watson and Éric La Casa have produced some featured sounds using materials such as metal, stone, and wood.
Atoui also collects various objects and materials from each site to transform them into sculptures and speakers. The recordings from each harbour city are then circulated throughout the installation and are connected by the landscape of objects. For Water’s Witness in Sydney, the MCA commissioned Atoui to create new sandstone sculptures. These sculptures are inspired by the convergence of nature, society, and industry that Atoui witnessed along Sydney’s shorelines in March this year.
Until February 4
Macgregor Gallery, Level 1, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.