Sound studio

Qatar-based sound artist says it’s time to slow down and listen

The chirping of birds, the chirping of insects, the sound of the wind on sand dunes – it’s all part of what Qatar-based Frenchman Guillaume Rousere calls his “sound art”.

Karim JAFAR

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In a noisy, chaotic and hectic world, Qatari sound artist Guillaume Rousere has a mission: to get people to slow down and listen again.

The chirping of birds, the chirping of insects, the sound of the wind brushing past 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.”

Rousere says his art should not be confused with music, which is made up of “organized sounds”. For a recent audio project, he set up his mic at an organic farm

Anne LEVASSEUR

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

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.

His new water-themed installation, “The World As We Know It Is Changing,” aims to “take the audience on a journey, to listen and disconnect from the world,” Rousere told the 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 dark 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 plying the Arabian seas, was presented at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, during an event organized by a Qatari foundation.

Rousere says the impending FIFA World Cup has given an extra boost to the arts scene in Qatar, where he has been based for nine years

Karim JAFAR

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 “Allow Me” sculpture — 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 begins on November 20, has given new impetus to the local arts scene, he told AFP.

“I think there was already a good dynamic, but everyone realized that there was an opportunity for international visibility.”