Tarek Atoui

A dancer wrapped in plastic wrap

WITHIN (2012– )

Two men. One holds a string, which is attached to a table. The other circles with a stiletto in a table
Tarek Atoui, »WITHIN«, Performance as part of the exhibition opening »New Sensorium« at the ZKM 2016
© ZKM | Center for Art and Media, photo: Felix Grünschloß
Over the past five years, Atoui has researched the relationships between sound as Vibration, instruments, and the bodies of the performer and the audience. This inquiry, encapsulated in his project »WITHIN«, which grew out of a 2008 residency at the Sharjah Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates, culminated in his contribution to the Sharjah Biennial 11 in 2013. Throughout the course of his residency, he conducted Workshops at the AI Amal School for the Deaf in Sharjah, and in 2012, he joined forces with the research agency Council (founded by Gregory Castera and Sandra Terdjman), whose project »TACET« explores how deaf people experience and perceive sound. These different conversations formed the core of »WITHIN« and became the foundation of its artistic approach and conception.

For the exhibition »New Sensorium«, Tarek Atoui has continued his exploration into how the perception of sound by the deaf can influence our understanding of what hearing is and the way we think sound Performance – its space, instrumentation, and representation. In this context, Atoui has created an international transdisciplinary network of art institutions, universities, research centers, and artists for the building and imagining of musical instruments that address the deaf and the hearing alike. Two new instruments, the »Square Drum« by sound artist and composer Thierry Madiot, and the »SubBassProtoTon«, a walk-in Or­gan pipe – developed by Johannes Goebel, the founding director of the Institute for Music and Acoustics at ZKM | Karlsruhe – will be presented to the audience of the exhibition.

»WITHIN« at the exhibition »New Sensorium« will therefore explore and present the horizons this mediation opens, and how it affects the way hearing people play those instruments and work with them. Prior to ZKM, »WITHIN« took place between March and November 2015 at the Berkley Art Museum. In Berkley, two instruments were created in by Meyer Sound, Berkley Centre for New Media and Thierry Madiot (who's work is in the exhibition). Currently, the project is simultaneously taking place at the Experimental Media and Performing Art Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, US and at the Bergen Assembly in Norway.