On the ground floor of The Contemporary Austin’s Jones Center, Atoui will present a new ensemble of his work The Whisperers. A continuation of a project presented at the Tai Kwun Contemporary in Hong Kong (2021) and Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris (2021), The Whisperers investigates sound, the ways in which sound sculpts perceptions, and the phenomenon of translation. The artist creates assemblages of custombuilt materials he calls "tools for listening," which conduct and amplify sound in multisensory ways.

These modules bring together wood, brass, water, bronze, glass, and stone to explore each material's acoustic and conductive properties and to build sonic environments within the gallery space. In keeping with the artist’s collaborative process, Atoui, with guidance from curator Robin K. Williams, invited three musicians for two-week residencies at The Contemporary Austin to work with materials he provided. In the first week, each musician experimented on their own or with invited musicians, and in the second week they led workshops with community youth organizations. As each musician and community collaborator brings their unique sensibilities to the explorations, they discover new possibilities for activating the materials and new modes of perceiving sound. The ideas generated through this process will inform Atoui’s creation of new elements for the final installation for The Whisperers at The Contemporary Austin.

Throughout the duration of the exhibition, the musicians and their collaborators will periodically interact with the installation through scheduled performances and improvisational activations. Local DJs, labels, and record shops will also be invited to engage with the work, extending its compositional range and deepening its connection to Austin.

Upstairs at the Jones Center, The Contemporary Austin will present Atoui’s work The Wave, consisting of instruments he created throughout the last decade for earlier projects. Since their creation, these instruments have been activated by a variety of collaborators and musicians — the resulting work is an accumulation of knowledge and experiences inspired by these individual and collective encounters.

In addition to the exhibition at the Jones Center, Atoui will install a new sight responsive sound installation at the museum’s fourteen-acre sculpture park at Laguna Gloria in summer 2022. The new commission will amplify the sounds of water drops and other movements naturally occurring in the surrounding environment with microphones discreetly installed in stone and bronze habitats below a balustrade at an overlook point behind the historic 1916 Driscoll Villa.

“Tarek’s installation and compositions continually evolve through accumulations of research, travel, collaboration, education, exhibitions, and performances,” shared curator Robin K. Williams. “He invites creative experimentation by musicians and non-musicians alike from the places where his projects are located. Bringing his work to Austin has therefore meant much more than installing objects in the galleries. It has meant generating a community that begins with the city’s vibrant experimental music scene, extends into the larger ecosystem of local DJs, labels, and record shops, and looks toward the future through workshops with local youth organizations. This dynamic and open-ended process has been extremely rewarding for the collaborative team that has brought the project to life.”

In 2020, the artist was selected for the 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize by an independent advisory committee composed of renowned curators and art historians from across the U.S. and Great Britain. Recipients receive a $200,000 unrestricted award along with a solo exhibition to debut in Austin and travel to New York. The prize also includes funds to support related programming at each venue and an exhibition catalogue. An iteration of the exhibition will travel to The FLAG Art Foundation in New York, opening October 1, 2022, and closing December 10, 2022.