Still from the video An UnMuted Serving

Performance – An UnMuted Serving, Art Week Dubai

Recently my work has been in collaboration with Christopher Weaver, detailed on our website.

Our latest piece is a new performative, electro-acoustic piece titled An UnMuted Serving.

After exploring the tonalities and resonances of domestic objects for many years in the UK, we moved to the UAE and recently took part in a residency in Pakistan.
One way this move influenced our practice was that we incorporated the steel dining plates and cups, thali, common nearly exclusively to Indian and Pakistani homes both in the UAE. The thali is prevalent here in the UAE, on sale or in use in restaurants in every residential area where people of Indian and Pakistani origin reside.
For An UnMuted Serving we interact with these everyday domestic materials in a gestural performance, while digital sounds tease, obscure and mimic the sounds of these steel cups and plates, used daily in family dinners. Recontextualised, lit up on a stage or at a private gallery dinner, they take on a particular significance of both context and location. The piece explores a realm of both familiar and uncovered sounds, working in synchronicity and juxtaposition with electronically manipulated ones. 
Our performance will mark the opening of the Art Week Dubai show at The Mine arts space
of Japanese installation artist Yasuaki Onishi, in a private
performance. Onishi’s works, which we will be surrounded by, are
ephemeral, translucent forms that collapse when touched. The
installation is lit with a diffused glow that speaks of a warmth or a
presence just out of view, rendering them a quality in their materiality that is reminiscent of the lightness of Japanese shoji room dividers, translucent papers over frames and lattices of wood or bamboo.
These
glowing, forms are suspended with the most fragile filaments of black,
that are traces of the artist’s own gestures as he commitedly installs
his own works. They are placed in order to point to an organic
verticality, which takes on a pointed meaning in a city of skyscrapers
and we intend our performance to add to their presence, while they give
an unforgettable ambience to our work, symbiotically. In An UnMuted Serving, the thali bowls and dishes sing from a waist high table, to a room of people who are standing or seated. Traditionally in Indian, Pakistani Japanese homes all over the world, the thali are eaten from while seated on the floor, in some places with the hand.

There was a time, not long ago, when people of the Gulf too would dine seated on the floor, yet now very few homes keep up this practice or do so only on certain occasions. 

On Wednesday March 16th, 5:45-6.30pm we perform the same, below the stage in the Al Fahidi (Al Bastakiya) heritage neighbourhood in Dubai. We decided the performance of An UnMuted Serving, rather
than be performed on stage, should be at an accessible level on the
ground, making the stage a prop in our participation with the space. The
two storey buildings of Al Fahidi, made with local coral-cement and replete with wind towers, hark back
to a time when people of the Gulf too would dine seated on the floor;
only some homes now do or on certain occasions. 

Sikka16 is in Al Fahidi is on the creek, in the old part of Dubai

In
this way, the public squares within the Al Fahidi neighbourhood serve
as performance spaces for different acts that bring part and present
together, architecture and spoken word into a common realm, free for the
public to view. 


Christopher Weaver and I play the steel dinnerware alongside a video that we created to reflect the above points of interest.

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