• Issue
  • Sep 01, 2023

Journey Across Sound: An Interview with Tarek Atoui

Installation view of TAREK ATOUI’s The Reverse Collection, 2014-16, performance, musical instruments, video and sound (stereo), dimensions variable, at the Tanks, Tate Modern, London, 2016. Photo by Theirry Bal. Courtesy the artist and Tate Modern.  

Over the past two decades, Tarek Atoui has established a distinctive experimental sonic practice, working in the interdisciplinary spaces of contemporary art—where it is possible to synthesize and hybridize elements of genres such as electronic music, live performances, and sculptural installations into new formats that defy a singular cultural mode of production. Born in 1980 amid the Lebanese civil war (1975 – 90) and having lived in France since his university years, Atoui has traveled extensively to connect with the musical practices of different cultures. Most recently, he performed an electroacoustic composition, Prelude to Rain (2023), with a Korean instrument maker at the opening of the 14th Gwangju Biennale. In September, the latest iteration of his touring installation project Waters’ Witness (2020) will take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, in Sydney. Following the Gwangju opening, ArtAsiaPacific caught up with Atoui to discuss the visual, tactile, and audio aspects of sound; the engineering process behind his projects on the history of instrument-making; and how our experiences with sonic elements shape our perception of the world. 

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