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Marfa Sounding: Tarek Atoui

TarekAtoui © Locus Athens

Over this Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, 2018, Marfa Live Arts in collaboration with Fieldwork Marfa will present Marfa Sounding: Tarek Atoui showcasing Paris-based artist Tarek Atoui’s examination of sound, place, and the social practice of improvisation across the varied landscapes of Marfa, Texas.

The weekend’s events curated by Jennifer Burris and Ida Soulard will begin on Friday, May 25th at the Crowley Theater with a reception, lecture by Atoui, launching of Marfa Sounding website, and panel discussion with the participating artists. On Saturday, May 26th at Saint George Hall there will be a performance, and the weekend will conclude on Sunday, May 27th with another performance at Vizcaino Park.

Atoui will bring the following instruments : Zero Point Nine, a sound installation realized though monumental bass synthesizers and Sound Boxes, a series of instruments housing field recordings from sites around the world. Performers will include professional musicians Jad Atoui, Robert Aiki Aubrey Low, and Amma Ateria supported by international art graduate students, area musicians, and local students.

Sound Boxes

Beginning with a series of field recordings taken in collaboration with sound specialist Chris Watson at various sites in Elefsina, Greece (ancient ruins, an industrial port, and an abandoned oil factory), Atoui has developed a series of “sound boxes” – minimalist instruments containing diverse recordings of a specific place – that can be played; used to create new compositions through improvisation. Focusing on harbors, Atoui has created “sound boxes” for Athens, Abu Dhabi and Singapore.

Bringing these sound boxes to Marfa, Atoui will work with professional musicians and local students to create a new composition/public performance using recordings from places around the world: highlighting ideas of migration, shared identity, and the specificities of place through collective performance.

Zero Point Nine

An instrument developed by Atoui during his 2015 residency at The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Zero Point Nine is a monumental bass synthesizer that produces ultra-low-frequency electronic sounds felt before they are heard. The artist’s interest in subsonic experience as music emerged from his previous work with deaf communities in the United Arab Emirates (Sharjah Art Biennial 2013) and Norway (Bergen Assembly 2016).

Developed in collaboration with software specialist Jeffrey Lublow (from Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technology - CNMAT), and Perrin Meyer of  Meyer Sound, a company which manufactures stadium-quality subwoofers, this instrument was conceived in order to create a concert accessible to all forms of hearing. Atoui will activate the instrument several times in Marfa and  will simultaneously work with students in the local public high schools to develop alternative forms of acoustic awareness. This instrument facilitates new understanding, or a deeper way of perceiving space, through sonic resonance.

All programs will be free and open to the public. For more information and a detailed schedule. please visit the Marfa Live Arts website.

The project is supported by FACE Foundation and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.