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Institut für
Kunstdokumentation und

Tarek Atoui

In comission by the Fridericianum in Kassel we were asked to produce a documentation of Tarek Atoui's exhibition "Waters’ Witness" (October 3, 2020 – January 17, 2021)



Tarek Atoui comprehensively exploits the potential of sound art, which lies at the heart of his practice. He is not only interested in how sound events or noises develop an acoustic effect. Equally important to him is how these phenomena can be perceived with sensory organs other than the ear, how they act as a catalyst for human interaction, and how they relate to social, historical or spatial parameters. The point of departure for his works is usually extensive anthropological, ethnological, musicological or technical research, which results in the realization of instruments, listening rooms, performances or workshops.


The Fridericianum presents Waters’ Witness, the first solo exhibition in Germany of the work of Tarek Atoui, an artist who was born in Beirut in 1980 and now lives in Paris. The show is based on Atoui’s ongoing project I/E, where the artist has been documenting the sounds of city ports, including Athens, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Porto, and Beirut, since 2015. Previously separate components of this research are brought together in Kassel, where audio recordings from different ports are combined with materials—marble blocks and steel girders—gathered from each site to form a single unit in the surrounding space. This arrangement is accompanied by The Tables of Contents, a group of works around which the central theme of participation in Atoui’s work coalesce.


photos: Ralph Goertz © IKS

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