An UnMuted Serving

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.


Tracing the Chora

Tracing the Chora is a soundwalk through the interstices of the undeveloped industrial areas of Al Quoz and the arts district, Al Serkal Avenue. Conceived of and created by sound artists Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver.

The chora (KhĂ´ra) as defined by Plato, is a place in which the formed has not yet taken shape, therefore it is a node of potential. For us this meant a space through which to decipher the reality of our surroundings as Al Quoz was partly unformed and yet quickly taking solid shape over the weeks in which we created this highly choreographed guided walk.

The pedestrian (a rarity in Dubai where taxis are cheap and town planning does not consider walking a mode of transport) observes Al Quoz’s vastly different terrains through the eyes of those who have worked in the area for years. Narration and sound direct listeners on a, at times testing, one-hour journey that dissolves our view of a boundary between the Avenue and its neighbourhood. The chora is a space of potentiality that promises more to come, and therefore relates to some kind of a past. It is traced here by the voices and sounds of a neighbourhood’s habits, memories and meditations, markers of life amidst the rattle of incessant industry.

The commission is an Al Serkal programming commission.

Recorded in Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE with the participation of Yasser Elsheshtawy, Nadine Knotzer, Kourosh Noori, Sunny Rahbar, Ehsan Eshrof and Dariush Zandi

1040010_10154105092434225_5325889263237639334_oImages taken by the public on the walk