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Kader Attia



Some sites in the desert are out of time,
either pre-human or post-human,
or even both.

For Kader Attia, the desert draws attention to and raises questions about how the blind race toward the destruction of our natural environment will end. It looks both like the result of a chaotic event and “at the same time, it looks like Earth a billion years ago, or another planet… a place from where everything could start again.” Alongside the geological landscape of rocks and sand with scarce vegetation – which create this ambivalent temporality – while visiting AlUla, Attia’s attention was also caught by the wind. Wind has carved the sides of the cliffs, as well as the massive rocks, with all kinds of niches: some of them deep, some large, some small, and all together they sing when the wind is blowing.
When visiting the site, walking alone through the rocks with an empty bottle of water in his hand, the artist witnessed the sound produced by the wind, echoing those whispers of the rocks several times. It is this peaceful moment which inspired Attia to explore the creative power of the wind and the meaning of such eternal experience. With this work, he aims to create a dialogue with the future, while grounded in a present experience of the natural environment.
Necks of glass bottles emerge from the sculptures, whistles open to the wind, like the little bottle Attia carried through the desert. In this same way, “metaphorically, whistle-blowers are crucial for our planet, these multiple rocks produce a sound that converses with the haunted sound of the place, making louder the concern we should all have for planet Earth.”