Digital Arts

The Surface of Spectral Scattering” diagrams a long-passed affective moment whose presence still persists like a phantom pain, but the memory of which is rapidly receding toward a threshold of imperceptibility.
To conjure and intensify that fading point, Magdi Mostafa created a site-specific, 600 square meter, multi-channel sound and light installation, in the Townhouse Factory Space. The installation translates the city of Cairo into a high energy discharge system with boundaries dictated by a poetic physics of transmission, where human actors play the role of inert conduits charged by abstract, external forces of zeal and fury.

Electric currents pulse through roughly 10,000 hand-embroidered LED lights, pumped by 15 different power centers through more than 23,000 hand-soldered electric connections. Each power supply is triggered by sound waves radiating from the periphery of this field of scattered illumination. A consistent thrusting of deep frequency sound defines the sum total of the shape of light, while intermittently, the speakers transmit a parallel track of high frequencies — the aural equivalent of the sharp point of the individual LED light itself, the basic unit of the work.

The work hangs between a series of tensions — between the intense pulling in and pulling out movement generated by the contrasting acoustic poles; the impersonal abstraction of a map and the deeply visceral, personal experience of the installation; and the seemingly cold, industrial use of technology and the laborious, craftsman-like process of creating the work.

But beyond those dichotomies, “The Surface of Spectral Scattering” is suffused with a reverence for that which is felt, but not understood — and for the deep memories that are increasingly known only by the shape of their absence.

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Digital Arts

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