MA BTEFHAM 3ARABE? / 2005
I have always been interested in those signs written in a language to which they are intruders. Those signs you can’t understand if you don’t let yourself hear: they are not words to be read and understood. There is no meaning linked to the word itself: the meaning resides in the reference of another word in another language, suggested only by the sound of the written word.
I wanted to emphasis on this phenomena by installing a real size reproduction of shop signs I find around home in a space in which the spectator could take a walk (it would take him/her around 15min to see the whole space), and experience this procedure of hearing written words in order to understand them.
Sensors that sense the presence of a person (movement) in a radius of 1m around each sign shall be installed. When stimulated, it would activate the sound of the word “as it should be read”, not as it is meant to be read. The sound being heard after reading the sign (since the latter is released once the person is in the area around it, so had read it and is moving forward), it is meant to provoke a certain awareness of the ambiguity of what they have just read/heard/understood. I wanted the sound to be created with Arabic text-to-speech software, but unfortunately am not able to find one for the moment. (Apparently, the Arabic TTS software is something that is being worked on, but that is not available yet.)
So what I will do for the sound (for now) is use a human interpretation of the words, without (as much as possible) any reference to their meanings (automatic reading).
The space in which the signs are installed is the outline of the streets they belong to: a three dimensional representation of the area and the line following my walk: the signs are placed exactly where they were found, giving the installation a document’s aspect.
The map below is a top view representation of the exhibition space (some streets of Mazraa / Ras El Nabeh), and contains indications to where each sign belongs. To stimulate an experience that could meet with the proposed installation’s form and concept, I decided to use letters to mark the signs: The transposition of the Arabic letters of the signs into the Latin alphabet.
The animation attached shows images of some of the signs and a demo of the sound that should accompany them. Enjoy!
El 3alam Elli Ray7a Welli Jeye / 2003
The Passengers by the sea of Beirut.
Casual scenes on a Sunday. But when a Camera is installed, actors will automatically emerge.
The sound work and the multiple Camera installation gives emphasis to this phenomena and creates some kind of “Drama” in these oh so casual scenes.