Alserkal Arts Foundation announces 2021-2022 programme

A Slightly Curving Place, an exhibition curated by Nida Ghouse, will open in Concrete in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, from March 2022
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Alserkal Arts Foundation announces an intriguing element of its 2021-2022 programme exploring the power of language and listening through multiple mediums.

A Slightly Curving Place, an exhibition curated by Nida Ghouse, will open in Concrete in Dubai arts hub Alserkal Avenue from March 2022, presenting an ambisonic soundscape for the first time in the UAE. 

Centred around an audio play, a video installation, and material in vitrines, A Slightly Curving Place responds to the work of Umashankar Manthravadi, a self-taught acoustic archaeologist who has been listening to premodern performance spaces.

Engage and transform

In asking what it means to listen to the past and its absence which remains, the exhibition brings together writers, choreographers, composers, actors, dancers, musicians, field recordists, and sound, light, and graphic designers who engage and transform not just each other’s work, but also that of many others.

Encompassing a range of practices in which his propositions reverberate, the project attends to what Umashankar does by exploring the political and performative potential of the past that he opens up.

The project was previously commissioned and presented by Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the iteration of the exhibition for Concrete is co-produced with support from ​​Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Sound as social

Nida Ghouse, the curator of the exhibition, says: “An archaeology of sound is primarily concerned with what it means to try and listen to the past, to that which may forever remain outside the range of our hearing.

“It draws awareness both to sound like a social event—music, theatre, and dance as forms of corporeal relations—and to an absence that remains.”

Leading up to the exhibition A Slightly Curving Place, Alserkal Arts Foundation will host An Archaeology of Sound study group and film programme as a means of gathering a community of listeners in Dubai. The film programme, titled A Supplementary Country Called Cinema and organised by Nida Ghouse and Surabhi Sharma, is presented in collaboration with Cinema Akil in Alserkal Avenue, with support from Goethe Institut.

The programme comprises fiction, documentary, and experimental cinema from the mid-twentieth century to the present, tracing the arrival of sound reproduction technology to the Indian subcontinent and its continued reverberations. 

New forms of knowledge

Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal and independent non-profit Alserkal Arts Foundation, says: “It is imperative that we support artists and practitioners who are engaged in unconventional modes of research and cultural production. In an increasingly inter-connected world, encouraging cross-disciplinary approaches is key to creating new forms of knowledge in order to engage and resonate with audiences, now and in the future.”

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March 11, 2022

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