22 – Nour Sokhon: Volatile Grounds

“Volatile Grounds” is an auditory installation which is part of a performative installation entitled The Great Report, which took place in Kampnagel, Hamburg (2020).

 

“Volatile Grounds” embodies the privatisation of lands and the mismanagement of waste. The incessant neglect in which our hand in nature and lack of respect towards the environment caused this situation to escalate, and is one that requires our urgent attention. We have already reached a critical point where the repercussions of our actions have led to mass suffering, such as high levels of food and water contamination, medical setbacks, and further detrimental effects towards the people. We cannot continue with this downward spiral lest it leads to the further demise of the entire country and its citizens.

 

“…we hear from time to time that someone got into the hospital and was cured getting out he contracted a virus so this virus contracted is due to the storage of the psychotoxic that’s in the hospitals and there are some apartments within Beirut where are stored these kind of psychotoxics” — Anonymous

 

The soundscape is composed of interview material collected in 2019 from anonymous activists a few months before the start of the revolution in Beirut, Lebanon. The content centres around the waste management crisis and land reclamation issue present in the region. The raw and manipulated field recordings work as metaphors to convey the constant disharmony present in the country. For instance, crow sounds are used to represent death and the abyss. On the other hand car horns describe the sonic environment of the country and that change needs to happen in order for it to stand back on its feet. The sonic score maintains a high level of density throughout most of the composition, similar to how the country’s citizens have been honking at the politicians for years. Coincidently during the early production phase of the project in October 2019 the revolution broke out in the country, which unveiled concealed truths that these anonymous activists had shared in the interviews.

 

We give thanks to all the anonymous activists that have contributed their time to “Volatile Grounds” and The Great Report.


Photo of Nour Sokhon
Photo: Omar Sfeir

Nour Sokhon is a Lebanese interdisciplinary artist based in Beirut, Lebanon. Her creative practice is centered around exploring different methods of working with artistic research including interview material, field recordings and recorded material from an organized site specific intervention. The research is then translated into sound/music compositions, performances, interactive installations and moving image work.

In 2014, Nour achieved an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from the American University in Dubai, and in 2017 she culminated a large scale project; a documentary entitled ‘People on Sound’, as part of her Master’s degree in Sound for the Moving Image at the Glasgow School of Art in the UK.

In 2019, Nour received the Emerging Artist Prize at the Sursock Museum in Lebanon, for a moving image piece entitled ‘Revisiting: Hold Your Breath’. She is currently completing the Sound Art 2020 scholarship that she was awarded by Lower Saxony and the University of Fine Arts in Braunschweig, Germany. Nour has exhibited her artwork in Beirut, Dubai, London, Glasgow, Paris, Hamburg, Madrid, Zurich, Juterbog, Sellasia and Beirut. She has also performed in Frankfurt, Berlin, Beirut, Dubai, Paris, Montreal, Melbourne, Sellasia, Bern, Soustons and in different festivals such as the Al Quoz Arts Festival (Dubai, UAE), the Other Worlds Festival (Blackpool, UK), the Network Music Festival 2020 (online) and This Is Not Lebanon (Frankfurt, Germany). She is a member of two sound collectives, Tse Tse Fly Middle East and Heya.


Credits:

Interview Material: Moritz Frischkorn & Nour Sokhon

“Volatile Grounds” (Sound installation): Nour Sokhon

Artistic Director: Moritz Frischkorn

Photographer: Robin Hinsch

Live Performance/ Co-creation: Maria F. Scarano / Scenography: Vladimir Miller / Sound/Music: Katharina Pelosi / Dramaturgy: Heiki Bröckerhoff / “Logistics of Paradise (Video, Text, Installation): Paula Hildebrandt / “Wahala” (Photography, installation): Robin Hinsch / Video: Bianca Peruzzi / Light: Rucarda Schnoor / Production Management: Annalena Kirchler / Cooperation Research: Lucie Schröder / Video editing “Logistics of Paradise”: Anna Fiedler / Participation stage design: LU’UM


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