Slow down and listen | Borneo Online Newsletter

DOHA (AFP) – In a noisy, chaotic and hectic world, Qatari sound artist Guillaume Rousere has a mission: to slow down and listen again.

The chirping of birds, the chirping of insects, the sound of the wind brushing against tall grass or sand dunes – it’s all part of what the 44-year-old Frenchman calls his “sound art”.

“Sound art is a discipline where the primary medium is sound and the goal is to listen,” said Rousere, who lives in the Gulf state soon to host the World Cup.

For a recent audio project, he installed a microphone at an organic farm in Qatar, where he also recorded artificial sounds such as cars, planes and farm machinery.

“I walk around the site I want to explore and let my ears guide me if I hear something that appeals to me,” he said, adding that often “it’s a matter of luck.”

“I put the microphone on and I’m off,” Rousere said. AFP. “I don’t listen to it until I’m back in my studio.”

Guillaume Rousere collects sounds in nature north of the Qatari capital Doha. PHOTOS: AFP
Rousere in his studio in Doha
Rousere presents his work in an art gallery in Doha

His sound work is “not to be confused with music” made up of “organized sounds”, pointed out Rousere, who explained that his passion began in childhood when he was popping balloons to study the noise he made. was doing in different environments.

Her new water-themed installation, The World As We Know It Is Changing, aims to “take audiences on a journey, to listen and disconnect from the world,” Rousere said. AFP.

“It’s become all the more important to me because…we live in rapidly changing societies that have stopped listening.”

Visitors sit in a darkened room, surrounded by four loudspeakers, for their ‘deep listening’ experience at Mathaf, a modern art museum in Doha’s Education City neighborhood.

They soon find themselves immersed in an ever-changing soundscape, with flowing river water and the sound of human activity, but also water-related memories being told in different languages, as associated images are projected on the wall.

A previous installation, Fragile Resilience, inspired by the sails of dhows that ply the seas of Arabia, was presented at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, during an event organized by a Qatari foundation.

Rousere, who in the past has managed musicians in Britain and studied sound art in Belgium, lived in Qatar for nine years and was artist-in-residence at contemporary art space Fire Station.

His sculpture Allow Me – this one in stone – is on display at Msheireb metro station in downtown Doha.

“Since I’ve been here, there’s always been support for local and international artists,” he said.

The World Cup, which kicks off on Nov. 20, has given new impetus to the local arts scene, he said. AFP. “I think there was already a good dynamic, but everyone realized that there was an opportunity for international visibility.”

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