Isolation Cycles: The Lost Room

Manial Palace museum - Cairo 2018

Magdi Mostafa created a site specific installation using variable sound and light elements, the work mainly structured to respond to the “Sabeel” or steam bath of The historical Manial Palace in Cairo, the artist made his research during a several site visits and checking the museum archives and he inferred that there must be a missing marble room, used as Sabeel or “Hammam” for the prince, and - in fact- we realized that room existed but it was closed to public during the restoration process since 1990.  

Inspired by the found room, Mostafa is using his set of low, dense frequencies of sound with a mix of high frequencies waveforms, scattered around the space through out several channels fixed in precise positions in two main halls, employing the scale and the materials of the space to direct and reshape these waves, A high-sensitivity audio recording of a hypothetical scenario of a physical transformation process, like water pressure for instance, inside different vacuums, or steam flow, condensation and metal pipes shakiness. Swinging between building up and decaying, this field of selected sounds is structured to bring something back to life, something felt but probably not clearly understood, maybe matching these special energies you feel through walking around the whole palace. 

 In the front hall, where is second part of the work exist, the artist used a special set of recordings of  "Sky Hum Phenomenon coming through ten 3D crafted speakers, a global acoustic phenomenon that caused wide controversy during the last decade, it is mostly based on a kind of frequency transformation, the phenomenon was reported several times during last years by several individuals and/or groups - including the artist himself, hearing it in the sky of Cairo, April 2015, a powerful-dense sounds heard coming randomly from the ethereal, covering about 30 to 50 kilometer areas, the concept of having such impact of sound from unknown place brought many different ideas to the public, including some religious interpretations of "Trumpet Angels" like in the Bible text, versus Si-Fi believes related to UFOs or other far-away existence , while some other newspapers suggested that these sounds has a political forces behind, and it's militarized by some secret agencies, developing the what the media calls "5th. Generation war's weapons" (Based on Daily Mail UK and others), even though this sound can still be a Hoax, in a very large scale, questioning who would benefit of spreading this type of fear, Fear of the unknown. However this set mixture of sound brings an important component to the artist's extensive aural composition in the "lost room scenario", the artist has made his sound piece in two phases, based on restructuring these sounds in timeline sequence attached in gradations in the space, Mostafa worked with musicians and note-writers in a studio context to compose and record a sound piece based on Sky hum tones, he strongly believes that the phenomenon is a rich resource for inspiration, it has such unusual imaginary aspect, likewise opening a room for questioning the reasons behind it, hopefully in a creative ways. 

Both, technology behind the work mechanisms, and the industrial-like produced sounds, are forcing a sense of coldness and humidness over the tall walls and the architectural elements, that may reflects the artist’s feelings/ impression, or reflects a sense of the passing times over a historical spot. Extended from "Surface of Spectral Scattering" The abstract phonemes are triggering a several discharged neon light flashes and actions that lead visitor’s attention and movements within the a specific path, mapping the reflections of sound energies on our interpretations of  what we see and how we experience both time and space into variable perspectives. 




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Curated & Commissioned By Art D'Egypte - Nov.2018 - Courtesy of the artist. ‚Äč