My Portfolio

Here, there and everything in between

Soundwalk installation: 10 min
June 9 – June 12, 2022
Kunst Kapel, Pr. Irenestraat 19, Amsterdam

Born and raised in Beirut, Sarah Saleh (1996) is interested in how sound can affect and shape our experiences, memories, identities, and relive traumatic events. In her work, entitled Here, there, and everything in between (2022), Saleh invites the viewer to walk through an 8-minute-long immersive journey of soundscapes and samples. Inspired by the practice of audio walks of the artist Janet Cardiff, where the rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking”, Saleh composed a sound-walk in four different chapters. The notion of home, displacement, and belonging is addressed through the different chapters, each chapter narrating the story of a different geographical location and a specific moment in time.

When she heard intensely loud sounds outside of her room – resembling the sound of explosions – she got triggered by how sound can affect or trigger traumatic memories as it reminded her of the blast in the port of Beirut. Moving to Amsterdam and leaving her home in a state of crisis, Saleh started collecting a multitude of sounds that reminded her of home to bring back some of these memories. Sounds of the sea, the birds, spiritual chants of the mosques, but also chaotic areas in the city, for example at the Javastraat, where you hear people talk in Arabic, reminded her of home.

The first chapter, entitled Gateway to the North, echoes her feeling of being displaced and the fear of forgetfulness after her arrival in Amsterdam. Her voice narrating “When will the sun ever appear again?” weaves in with an excerpt of Sun Ra’s song The Sky Is a Sea of Darkness When There Is No Sun To Light the Way. Moving forward with the sounds of chants, a feeling of being in-between emerges as Saleh addresses her scattered identity. Being both Christian and Muslim – her mom is Christian Orthodox and her dad Sunni Muslim – Saleh always felt like she didn’t know where she belonged.

The third chapter refers to the Cacerolazo, deriving from the Spanish cacerola meaning “stew pot”, a form of protest where people make noise by banging on pots and pans, which was used during the October 17 Revolution (2019). Saleh collages the sounds from this important moment in time combined with other Sonic Traces from the Arab world, as a way to weave these memories of the past with futuristic sounds to imagine a future.

Each chapter narrates a different place and time, translating personal experiences of moving between geographies into parallel displacements. You can listen to the four chapters respectively here : 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

Installation photographs courtesy of Andres Sanjuan Villanueva , Sander van Wettum 
Article Author: Nadèche Remst