This publication is the fourth volume in a series that documents Tarek Atoui's project Waters' Witness. Created in collaboration with French photographer and Atoui's long-term collaborator, Alexandre Guirkinger, it is intended as a visual embodiment of the work's development for Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, from the research and recording in Sydney's Port Botany, La Perouse and Frenchmans Bay, to the installation as sculptural and sonic composition in the Museum's Macgregor Gallery.
Waters' Witness is an exhibition that combines elements of artist and composer Tarek Atoui's ongoing project dedicated to capturing the sounds of harbour cities, from Athens to Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Beirut, Porto, Istanbul and now Sydney. The project encompasses an installation, performances, an archive of sounds and publications, that continually evolve as each new harbour is added.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia publication Tarek Atoui: Waters' Witness is the fourth volume in an international series of photographic books that form part of the Waters' Witness project. Produced in partnership with Atoui's long-term collaborator, French photographer Alexandre Guirkinger, the publication captures and articulates the Sydney components of this dynamic contemporary artwork.
The publication documents the project's development in Sydney and the exhibition at the MCA, with images of the work installed in the MCA galleries, and a photographic essay by Guirkinger featuring significant Sydney locations including Port Botany and La Perouse. Guirkinger's imagery brings a seductive visual element to the largely sound-based work and offers a unique perspective on Atoui's practice and process.
The publication includes a foreword by Suzanne Cotter, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and an interview with Tarek Atoui by Curator Anna Davis, focusing on his new work in Sydney and its connection to the ongoing Waters' Witness project.
Tarek Atoui's (born 1980 in Beirut) work inhabits the intersection of visual and sound arts. Known for his sonic installations and performances, Atoui privileges a sensory approach along with an investigative process that embraces history, anthropology, ethnology and musicology. He considers sound to be a catalyst for human interaction leading him to collaborate with other musicians, as well as researchers and musical instrument makers. His ongoing reflections on the notion of the musical instrument have led him to investigate the history of classical Arab music and to collaborate with a school for the deaf to learn how students hear and perceive sound. By traversing such a wide range of fields, he constantly changes roles, shifting from performer to computer programmer, from researcher to artistic director.