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Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Tarek Atoui: Waters' Witness

Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George Street , The Rocks NSW 2000
Macgregor Gallery: Level 1

Every day, 10am to 5pm Friday 15 September to Sunday 4 February 2024

The MCA Australia is closed on Tuesdays.



A sonic landscape and performances based on the hidden sounds of port cities.

Tarek Atoui (born 1980, Beirut) is a Lebanese artist and composer whose practice investigates the medium of sound. His work considers how sound can be experienced across multiple senses, the ways it acts as a catalyst for social interaction, and its relationship to place, history and ecology. Known for his collaborative performances and installations using handcrafted musical instruments, Atoui creates compositions that direct sound through organic materials which are often activated by the audience and other artists. He develops his projects over several years and in collaboration with an international network of musicians, instrument makers, technicians and people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Waters’ Witness is based on Atoui’s ongoing project documenting the acoustic identities of port cities that are deeply connected to their harbours. Recording sounds close to the sea and under the water, Atoui produces a unique score for each city which becomes part of the work’s growing soundscape and a source of inspiration for new sound sculptures and musical devices. Connecting docks and waterfronts from Athens to Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Beirut, Porto, Istanbul and now Sydney, Waters’ Witness is an immersive sonic landscape that is reimagined in a different format for each presentation.

Live performances by Atoui and guests are programmed within the exhibition, together with a series of sound-based educational workshops.

Curated by Anna Davis.

Entry is free.

Find out more.

The exhibition Waters’ Witness  was conceived by Tarek Atoui and is organised by the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. The exhibition was first produced by the Fridericianum, Kassel, in cooperation with the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, and Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.

Supporting Exhibition Patrons: Chloe and Andrew Podgornik

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Museum of Contemporary Art Australia


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