Un-Drum 2/ The Chinese Connection, 2009

Tarek Atoui

Biennial, Exhibitions

Tarek Atoui during a sound performance.
Photo by Tanya Traboulsi

Un-drum 2/The Chinese Connection

Un-drum is a complex interaction between music composition, body movement, performance and computer and electronic engineering.

It is a series of intense physical sound performances that began with Tarek Atoui’s Sharjah Biennial 9 residency in 2009, where he composed the original Un-drum: Strategies of surviving noise. This work was first performed at the Sharjah Biennial (2009) and later presented at the Maison Rouge, Paris (2009) and the New Museum, New York (2010)

Artist Statement
Composed for Disorientation II, Un-drum 2/ The Chinese Connection reflects on the cultural shift in China during the Maoist revolution when traditional and modern art forms were radically affected and altered by the new communist ideology. Traditional and Occidental influences from music, theatre and arts were purged as the Cultural Revolution promoted new aesthetics aimed at creating a new popular myth. The sound material for this work is taken from demonstrations and the public trials of master of opera, music and art who were judged by the youth of the communist party.  

On a cultural level, the Maoist and the Pan-Arab movements applied a similar totalitarian mentality and strategies in creating new myths and sectarian identities, one that, even after the fall of the Pan-Arab ideology, are followed by many national and popular movements in the Arab world today.

One of the compositional principals of this piece is the creation of a struggle between the concrete sounds of trials and of the hails of propaganda against a sea of very harsh, dense and agitated electronic sounds and rough distorted textures.  It is a constant subversion between compositional elements and their scale in a conflicted way that reflects the condition of these painful and hard times of forced cultural and social change.

Tarek Atoui

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