The media are not toys… they can be entrusted only to new artists, because they are art forms.
(McLuhan, 1954)






Round
—2019

Site specific sound installation in Hamami Mofti
Produced within Space21 - sound art residency and exhibition,
Slemani and Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, April 2019
Curated by Hardi Kurda and Brandon LaBelle






Background 

The piece consisted of a voice-over recording played via floating transducer in a water reservoir of the ham- mam (the traditional Kurdish spa).

In the piece of writing, I tried to track back my sonic experience with words - as if in field recordings.
I wrote, based on the recollection of my own experience of bathing there with a number of women;

about listening to the architecture looping and weaving voices as well as my own thoughts;

about watching women dyeing their hair and washing out the darkest shades of browns;

about the warmth, the steam, and the burble.


By putting the installation and the text back to its origin - to the room where the thoughts came to being, the words and their content dissolved again in the room and its echo.


Listening experience
The piece was installed in a water reservoir by the main dome room of the hammam and was accessible through a small door (60x60cm) at chest level.


The water reservoir was a dark cave-like room and was filled with +40°C water and steam, which was stored there to be distributed in the baths. The visitor was only able to insert the upper torso in this hot and steamy environment of the water reservoir.

I built a DIY styrofoam boat for my transducer and installed it, floating, inside the water reservoir. It created a unique listening experience, because the sound would not only emanate inside the water reservoir, but would travel out in the dome room, and would embody that round echo chamber.

Duration 4 min, loop, media player, amplifier, transducer, cabling and mounting materials.
 


the voiceover text

i pull back and tweak my hair - to recall myself
to be here - now, at this time
i am swallowed and synced
i’m determined and pre-dominated by this space
the sound appears as if there was no source
these sounds - they surround me
i became them and we sound from within
the echo gradually takes over my body and builds a body of its own
a body that never settles
i swing on its arms
we are bouncing together and bending the shape of the room
a centre-less elasticity
is it the echo of my words, or the echo of my thoughts that came to being? the sound of my voice moves through its own production
the roundness disappeares into sound
the sound disappeares into roundness
in listening, i am the sound
where am i in the hammam of my own listening?