Variations for a Space and its History, 2015 by Fari Bradley and Chris Weaver.
Sound installation, sculpture and repeated intervention.
An Art Dubai commission for the not-for-profit Commissions section of the fair,
One trained and two untrained voices intervene in the solemn atmosphere of the art fair at different intervals. From a top balcony at the entrance, an opera singer begins, and then takes the elevator to ground floor, singing an ode written by the artists, to the mostly unsung archeologist Beatrice de Cardi, then aged 100 yrs. De Cardi (Beatrice, after Dante's muse Beatrice) pioneered the archaeological scene across the Middle East.
In the 60s there were no archaeological digs in the Middle East as the area was generally considered a void as far as buried artifacts were concerned. Beatrice de Cardi persevered however, with her illiterate guide and together they found links between Fujeirah and the Indus Valley civilsation, a hugely significant find amongst many others, gaining her awards from the Sheikhdom for her work.
In 'Variations for a Space and its History', the singer progresses from room to room the acoustics change and the ode becomes increasingly tonal until at the base of the stairs they entered a darkened space around an apparently fallen piece of ancient architecture, a muqarnas that holds up the coppola of a mosque. The tones of the space resonate and flux continually, interrupted by tones from an imagined architecture, a past 'reality' on the very same spot.
Here untrained voices join in an improvisation by the trained opera singer as she responds to the rolling and changing tones of the architecture, as described by the sound installation, making use of the acoustics of the space. Together with the sculpture of the muqarnas at the base of the stairs, the work refers to the immovability of the 'presence' of the spot, despite man's transient constructs; continual since the beginning of time.
The work is an iteration of a piece previously performed for the International Symposium of Electronic Art, Dubai 2015.