Performed in Dubai at The Mine and at Sikka Art Fair, in Bahrain at Malja Redbull Studios, in Kuwait at the ReUse Festival and in Lebanon at the Beirut Arts Centre.
The tonalities and resonances of domestic objects has been an exploration thread in our work over many years in the UK, living in the UAE and on a residency in Pakistan we found new and significant objects to work with pertaining to our new situation.
We experimented with the steel dining plates and cups, or thali, common almost exclusively to Indian and Pakistani homes, also on sale in the UAE so as to serve those communities of expats. The thali ‘s prevalence in the UAE, was exclusive to being on sale or in use in restaurants in residential areas where people of Indian and Pakistani origin reside.
For An UnMuted Serving we play these everyday domestic materials in a gestural performance, while digital recordings made of their sonic properties tease, obscure and mimic the sounds of meals had with the steel cups and plates, as daily family dinners. Recontextualised, lit up on a carpet on a stage or in a private gallery, they take on a particular significance of both context and location. The piece explores a realm of both familiar and uncovered sounds, working in synchronicity and juxtaposition with electronically manipulated ones, to suggest similarly hidden scenes, of ‘workers’ at rest.
Traditionally in Asian homes all over the world, the thali are eaten from while seated on the floor, while they are also used symbolically in marriages and other significant ceremonies. There was a time when people of the Gulf too would dine seated on the floor, yet now very few homes keep up this practice or do so only on certain occasions.