Spectral Cityscape No. 1 (2018)
Spectral Cityscape No. 1 is an eight-channel sound installation of microtonal synthesis and field recordings. 24 mins. Composed and performed by Khyam Allami. Comissioned for and premiered as part of Friday Sermon, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s National Participation at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition- La Biennale de Venezia. Curated by Nora Akawi and Noura El-Sayeh. More information
Fridays at noon, from 25 May – 23 November 2018
“In May 2010, atop Mount Qasioun, overlooking Damascus, I heard hundreds of voices ring out across the city. Starting at differing moments of the appointed time, they slowly weaved into each other and coalesced into a microtonal whitewash that clouded over the noise of the capital’s day-to-day. In the pauses between their phrases, the resonances of their calling reverberated through the city’s winding construction and morphed into an ineffable spectral synthesis. Magic. What was usually unbearably amplified, distorted, and often disturbingly out-of-tune, became captivating, alluring and mystifying. What was inaudible at the source, was suddenly clear and moving, thousands of meters away. The remnants of their calls, resounding finitely into the half-silence, the perspective of distance changing everything.
Suddenly, it ended, and the city quietened down into faint murmurs as the sermons began. Those same sermons, often aggressive and rousing, transformed into inaudible whispers and modulated interjections – a magical half-state of attempted stillness, punctuated by the odd urban action. Then, a reprise – albeit softer, shorter, and less articulated – before the storm of noise took over once again and it was back to the urbane reality, for another week.”
- Khyam Allami