Tarek Atoui and Jad Atoui performing at the opening of Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11. Sharjah Art Foundation, 2020


As part of the major solo exhibition Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11, Sharjah Art Foundation announces a music residency programme that will bring 13 musicians, composers and artists, selected through an open call, as well as Resident Advisors to Sharjah to develop new works that interact with the installations within the exhibition. The residency will give the artists an opportunity to conduct research, collect data and records, access relevant sites and site-specific materials, and contribute to the development of a public programme while receiving mentorship and support for the development of their projects from Tarek Atoui and the assigned Resident Advisors. A public programme, led by the residents and advisors, will also take place alongside the residency and will include workshops, presentations and pop-up performances as well as papers or publications. More information about the residency and the accompanying public programmes will be available soon.

Curated by Hoor Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Tarek Atoui: Cycles in 11 is a major solo exhibition celebrating over a decade of Atoui’s collaboration with the Foundation and the surrounding community. The exhibition centres around experimental and innovative musical forms and offers audiences opportunities to learn about and explore instrument-making, compositional structure and musical collaboration. The works in the exhibition represent the culmination of the artist’s ongoing exploration of different methods of listening, composition and performance. The instruments Atoui has created are the product of extensive research into music history and tradition as well as collaborations with different experts. Challenging established ways of listening through innovative approaches to sound, the instruments also build on the artist’s earlier project WITHIN, which grew out of years of work with Deaf culture. This project, originating in Sharjah, investigated how deafness can influence the way sound performance, space and instrumentation are understood. The exhibition is on view through 10 April 2021.

Throughout the residency period, the Foundation’s heritage venue Bait Al Serkal will operate both as a sound lab and a performance and listening space while another sound lab will be set up close to Sharjah’s natural reserves and archaeological sites in the east coast city of Kalba.

The participating residents are Ivan Macera and Christine Kazarian (17–26 January); GRAYCODE and jiiiiin (7–15 February); Leyya Mona Tawil, Kristoffer Kjaerskov and Safeya Alblooshi (1–12 March); Hadi Zeidan and Zeynab Ghandour (14–23 March). The Resident Advisors are Igor Porte (17–26 January), Jad Atoui (7–15 February), Alan Affichard (1–12 March) and Boris Shershenkov (14–23 March).

More information about the resident artists and advisors is outlined below.

17–26 January 2021

Igor Porte - Resident Advisor
b. 1991, Orléans, France
Lives and works in Nantes, France

Igor Porte creates sound works using field recordings and mechanical elements as part of his compositions. The activation of these works takes the form of self-made instruments, installations and performances that involve collaborating and improvising with others. He developed an interest in extracting and collecting objects by wandering around abandoned urban spaces such as disused factories, where he seeks and activates small objects in the surroundings as well as anecdotal microcosms from the city.

Residency goal: ‘This residency is a moment for me to focus on the soundscape from Sharjah, from the daily life and human activity to the natural environment and the specific things living around. It will take the form of sound research with many instruments from the exhibition, field recording in the city of Sharjah and finally sound compositions. The purpose will be to form a new landscape, a kind of moving landscape with its own narration, depth, relief and rhythm.’

Ivan Macera - Resident
b. 1975, Rome
Lives and works in Rome

Ivan Macera is a percussionist whose unique approach is based upon experimentation and improvisation which provides the fertile niche that allows for the continuous and necessary evolution of the research of sound. Over the years, he has devoted his studies to observe and analyse the relationships between resonances as the means of developing audio expression, elaborating and creating sound objects, kinetic sculptures and musical instruments, by mostly using natural materials from different places.

Residency goal: ‘As a musician, I started to get closer to the sound of stone while looking for timbre solutions and experimenting through different means of investigation. During my residency, I will collect different stones from various places of geological interest in order to create a sound set for a live performance. I would like to convey a sort of journey, starting from the surface of a stone (played like a percussion instrument) to hearing the sound generated by its internal structure through the physical process of the absorption.’

Christine Kazarian - Resident
b. 1989, Tsaghkadzor, Armenia
Lives and works in St Petersburg

Christine Kazarian is a harpist and performer who presents new improvised and contemporary academic music. Exploring extended techniques on harp, open composition and live sound processing, she also works in dance and theatre as a classical musician. Her repertoire includes works by contemporary composers. Kazarian is a member of ensembles such as {instead} ensemble, Praed orchestra, Radical Muzak Septet and St Petersburg Improvisers Orchestra. She has performed in several countries, including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Latvia, Finland, the United Arab Emirates, Armenia and Belarus.

Residency goal: ‘During this residency, I would like to go beyond my speciality as a musician-performer and explore the instruments that are presented at the exhibition and consider new possibilities of musical collaboration. For me, this is a great opportunity to overcome professional stagnation.’

7–15 February 2021

Jad Atoui - Resident Advisor
b. 1993, Beirut
Lives and works between New York and Beirut

Jad Atoui is a music composer, sound designer and electronic sound experimentalist. Using his bio-sensors, field recordings and analogue gear, he composes and performs electronic music. His work has been featured in Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012) and The Stone, New York (2018). In 2015, he collaborated with Ivan Marazzi for the ‘Biosonics’ project in order to incorporate bio-sonification of behaviours as a compositional tool. The project was later published in John Zorn’s Arcana Book Vol. XVIII and premiered at The National Sawdust as part of The Stone’s commissioning series.

Residency goal: ‘I’d like to build a sound programme that serves as a centre to receive, convert and distribute sounds collected from different instruments exhibited in the rooms of Bait Al Serkal. The programme is based on a patch built with Max MSP and functions as a sound conductor. The inputs are processed and redistributed depending on different algorithms and rules. This way we can define each room as an instrument or a sound source that has the ability to send programme change messages and orchestrate a composition.’

GRAYCODE, jiiiiin - Residents
Tae Bok Cho (GRAYCODE), b. 1984, Seoul and Jin Hee Jung (jiiiiin), b. 1988, Seoul
Live and work in Seoul

Electronic music composers GRAYCODE and jiiiiin have been collaborating in the field of sound and new media. The artists manage various media in the form of sound, video, installation and sculpture through their individual work, and have also worked as a collaboration, ‘GRAYCODE, jiiiiin’. The language of their work has been boldly borrowing the methodology of physics. ‘GRAYCODE, jiiiiin’ inherited the legacy of the German scientist Heinrich Hertz, using algorithms to interpret vibrations and creating their own electronic signals that can be effectively visualised. The expectation on their artwork connotes to a sensory experience and a higher level of quivering beyond the sampling frequency of human senses.

Residency goal: ‘During the residency, we will research a spot moment that could transcend the physical environment's limitations (i.e. culture, space-time, etc) by the sound live-performance and the exhibition.’

1–12 March 2021

Alan Affichard – Resident Advisor
b. 1989, Saint-Lô, France
Lives and works in Berlin

In his sculpture, performance and installation works, Alan Affichard explores the processes of knowledge, ancient techniques and craftsmanship with a focus on collaboration, instrument-making, listening situations and musical experimentation. Through performance, Affichard experiments with raw and direct material; through installation, he examines ways of building narratives by translating objects and displacing historical anecdotes into other contexts.

Residency goal: ‘For my residency at Sharjah Art Foundation, I would like to investigate traditional weaving techniques and their potential to entwine heterogeneous materials together (conductive thread, wires, etc) that become the matrix of an instrument. Working both with Tarek Atoui's instruments inside the exhibition and outside, recording and extracting sounds from numerous materials and locations (Desert Park, Botanical garden, Natural History Museum, Archeology Museum), this approach will nourish my research and will allow me to combine them in the form of a public performance at the end of the residency.’

Leyya Mona Tawil - Resident
b. 1975, Detroit, USA
Lives and works between Oakland, Detroit, New York City and London

Leyya Mona Tawil is an artist working with dance, sound and performance practices. She has presented performance scores in the USA, Europe and the Arab world. Operating in what she refers to as her ‘diasporic imaginary’, Tawil investigates how her specific reference points collide and transmit nomadic knowledge through sonic signaling and distortions of physical form.

Residency goal: ‘I will research how transactive choreography can cue new ways of listening and twist the sonic output of the installations. I will also share my work as Lime Rickey International, offering hybrid performances forging connections between fiction, performance and sound that slip between codes within the local culture and a futuristic vision.’

Kristoffer Kjaerskov - Resident
b. 1984, Ry, Denmark
Lives and works in Berlin

Visual and sound artist Kristoffer Kjaerskov works with ambient and atmospherical sound, mixing field recordings, synthesisers and electric guitars, among other instruments, to shape layered and organic sound environments. His experience in music comes from an intuitive use of the guitar and has developed to integrate electronic and digital sounds as well. Preferring to record and perform music without a computer, Kjaerskov uses tape recorders (sound on sound), dictaphones, guitar and pedals, samples, drum-machines and live instruments in the shaping of atmospheres and abstract environments.

Residency goal: ‘I wish to explore and record sounds in my immediate surroundings during the residency and use these in combination with more abstract and composed sound milieus. Through the use of various forms of recording techniques and audio processing, I would like to work towards an ambient piece that evolves in a landscape deriving from the concrete world, and yet drifts into a space of possible and imagined environments.’

Safeya Alblooshi - Resident
b. 1998, Dubai
Lives and works in Abu Dhabi

Safeya Alblooshi works with field recording and sound experimentation to explore topics of conceptual narrative, environmental listening and disciplines in performance studies. She is currently working on a multichannel installation manipulating contaminated water-body recordings and an album of place-related narratives across the Emirates.

Residency goal: ‘I plan to explore the concept of situated sound within Tarek’s exhibition and beyond. Questions of what it means to blend sounds that are not native to their sonic habitat and whether or not that contributes to acute listening as well as what defines ‘native’ or ‘non-native’ come to mind. For that, I plan to utilise recorded material of the various instruments on-site and surrounding spaces and synthesise it within the framework of the questions addressed above, with an aim to further challenge my ways of listening, and/or un-listening.’

14–23 March 2021

Boris Shershenkov - Resident Advisor
b. 1990, Vladivostok, Russia
Lives and works in St Petersburg

Boris Shershenkov is a sound artist and musical instrument designer. Focusing on projects that develop new methodologies in technological and sound art, he investigates the relationship between humans and technology by combining modern techniques with media archaeological research. Shershenkov is engaged in various activities in the field of experimental music and sound art as the author of numerous media installations and sound performances and curator of concert programmes, exhibitions and educational projects.

Residency goal: ‘I will conduct sound research and record unique hidden soundscapes of Sharjah, both natural and technogenic, focus on the creation of the augmentations for the instruments, organ flute modulators for the workshops and live performance in the Cycles in 11 exhibition using Tarek Atoui’s instruments (Organ Within).

Hadi Zeidan - Resident
b. 1993, Beirut
Lives and works in Paris

Hadi Zeidan experiments with analogue synthesisers and electronic music, and explores musical archives from the 1960s through the 1980s. Reflecting musical geographies and cross-genre ventures, his work draws from intergenerational research and multicultural urban aesthetics.

Residency goal: ‘I want to explore Tarek Atoui's instruments for three main purposes: recording compositions, documenting/archiving sound research procedures and connecting different instruments/recordings as a temporary orchestra. The final output could be a series of sound pieces to be explored in future projects by Atoui or Sharjah Art Foundation, along with a well-organised log book that documents techniques and methods used during the residency. The purpose of the latter exercise is to evaluate (if able) the instruments’ workflow and their potential in regards to composing, performing capabilities and recording or sound production techniques. I have been working as a live musician and DJ with analogue synthesisers, vinyl records and electronic music, which is likely to offer an intuitive approach to the sound pieces’ construction methods, although Atoui’s instruments are effortlessly unique.’

Thoom (Zeynab Ghandour) - Resident
b. 1995, Beirut
Lives and works in Berlin

Thoom (Zeynab Ghandour) rejects the polished 2010s pop culture and its slavish devotion to excess, autotune and artificial perfection. Her sound is a volatile hybrid of tender guitar ballads and searing electronic noise, in turns heavenly, grungy and dissonant.

Residency goal: ‘In Sharjah, I will be experimenting with some field recordings collected in Sharjah and working on completing some of my most recent songs. I will also be recording with the instruments used in Tarek Atoui's recent exhibition.

To learn more, visit sharjahart.org.

About Sharjah Art Foundation

Sharjah Art Foundation is an advocate, catalyst and producer of contemporary art within the Emirate of Sharjah and the surrounding region, in dialogue with the international arts community. Under the leadership of founder Hoor Al Qasimi, a curator and artist, the foundation advances an experimental and wide-ranging programmatic model that supports the production and presentation of contemporary art, preserves and celebrates the distinct culture of the region and encourages a shared understanding of the transformational role of art. The foundation’s core initiatives include the long-running Sharjah Biennial, featuring contemporary artists from around the world; the annual March Meeting, a convening of international arts professionals and artists; grants and residencies for artists, curators and cultural producers; ambitious and experimental commissions and a range of travelling exhibitions and scholarly publications.

Established in 2009 to expand programmes beyond the Sharjah Biennial, which launched in 1993, the foundation is a critical resource for artists and cultural organizations in the Gulf and a conduit for local, regional and international developments in contemporary art. The foundation’s deep commitment to developing and sustaining the cultural life and heritage of Sharjah is reflected through year-round exhibitions, performances, screenings and educational programmes in the city of Sharjah and across the Emirate, often hosted in historic buildings that have been repurposed as cultural and community centres. A growing collection reflects the foundation’s support of contemporary artists in the realisation of new work and its recognition of the contributions made by pioneering modern artists from the region and around the world.

Sharjah Art Foundation is a legally independent public body established by Emiri Decree and supported by government funding, grants from national and international nonprofits and cultural organisations, corporate sponsors and individual patrons. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.

About Sharjah

Sharjah is the third largest of the seven United Arab Emirates and the only one bridging the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Reflecting the deep commitment to the arts, architectural preservation and cultural education embraced by its ruler, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Sharjah is home to more than 20 museums and has long been known as the cultural hub of the United Arab Emirates. It was named UNESCO's Arab Capital of Culture in 1998 and the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019.

Media Contact

Alyazeyah Al Reyaysa